Press Release
June 23, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara hailed the passage House Bill 4541 or the Mercury Exposure Information Act, which will establish an aggressive information program that will teach the public about the hazards and adverse effects of mercury when eating fish and other marine products.

Angara warned that mercury is a bio-accumulative toxin that poses significant risk to human health, wildlife and the environment and can cause serious damage to the nervous system in developing fetus, even death, in exposed adults.

"I am happy that this important bill is close to becoming a law. However, there is a need for more preventive measures to address the root causes of the problem and to prevent the situation from getting worse. In the case of mercury contamination, the high levels of mercury present in marine products are a result of gold extraction and mining," Angara said.

He continued, "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. The amount of mercury can pollute a 20-acre lake and kill living organisms."

With this in mind, Angara called for the creation of an Environmental Advisory Council on Mercury Pollution that will handle matters relating to the prevention and clean-up of mercury pollution and the reduction in human exposure to mercury.

This will be created through the Mercury Reduction Act proposed by Angara, who also chairs the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

This bill 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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