Press Release
January 11, 2008


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called for measures to curb mercury hazards: by switching from mercury-using products and processes to non-mercury alternatives, controlling mercury release, and implementing proper mercury waste management.

The US Environmental Protection warns that mercury is a potent neurotoxin that affects the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. "But these days, mercury is everywhere - in thermometers, blood pressure devices, lab chemicals, cleaning products, even in the light bulbs and switches in our homes," Angara said.

Referring to the health sector, Angara added, "it is ironic that the very sector supposed ensure human and environmental wellbeing is actually the fourth largest source of mercury air emissions."

He further warned of the environmental threat posed by mercury, saying that the amount of Hg in one thermometer, when diffused in an aquatic environment, can pollute a 20-acre lake and kill living organisms.

"In the Philippines, aside from the mercury in health care products, the two main sources of mercury pollution are mining and gold extraction. There are about 100,000 people in Luzon and Mindanao engaged in gold mining. For every gram of gold retrieved, two to five grams of mercury are released into the environment which threatens to pollute our rivers and agricultural areas," Angara said.

Angara filed a bill in the Senate which seeks to 1) control the sale of elemental mercury, 2) impose proper labeling of products containing mercury, 3) phase out products with mercury content, 4) ban mercury-containing toys, games, cosmetics and apparel, 5) ban the sale and distribution of Hg thermometers, 6) ban mercury in school laboratories, and 7) promote public education and information on the hazards posed by mercury.

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