The manufacture and sale of products containing mercury are to be highly restricted in Taiwan from 2021, pursuant to an international agreement aiming to reduce global mercury pollution, an Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) official said yesterday.
Taiwan is to ban the manufacture, import and export of products containing mercury in accordance with the Minamata Convention on Mercury, Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau head Hsieh Yein-rui (謝燕儒) said.
The international agreement, which took effect on Aug. 16, 2017, establishes a timetable for restricting the trade of products containing mercury.
Batteries, cosmetics, pesticides and fluorescent lamps subject to the convention were already restricted in Taiwan, while the manufacture, import and export of high-pressure mercury lamps, switches, relays and measuring devices, such as barometers, hygrometers, manometers, thermometers and hemadynamometers, will be prohibited from 2021, Hsieh said.
Public hearings on the policy have been completed and a formal announcement is expected next month, he said.
However, products manufactured or imported before the policy takes effect would not be barred from sale and used, he said.
Mercury can enter the human body through the skin, by breathing airborne vapor or in food and is difficult to expel, the EPA said.
Long-term exposure can have toxic effects on the brain, nervous system, liver, kidneys and lungs, it said.
The EPA in 1991 classified it as a class I toxic substance, meaning it does not break down easily in the environment and can lead to environmental pollution or pose a hazard to human health.
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