Canadian Consulting Engineer

Moves to restrict cadmium, lead and mercury emissions enacted

A United Nations protocol restricting the emission of three harmful heavy metals -- cadmium, lead and mercury -- ca...

January 2, 2004   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A United Nations protocol restricting the emission of three harmful heavy metals — cadmium, lead and mercury — came into force on December 29 to protect the air quality in Europe.
Adopted in June 1998 in Aarhus, Denmark, the protocol has been signed by 19 parties, including Canada, the United States, And the European Union.
The protocol requires parties to reduce their emissions of cadmium, lead and mercury, which are deemed harmful to human health, to levels below that of 1990, or an alternate year between 1985 and 1995. The ECE members have also agreed to consider whether to add new persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to the list of banned or restricted substances under a separate protocol of the same convention.
“Heavy metals obviously are something that cause great concern for the global environment because they travel through oceans,” said Verner Obermayer of the UN Environment Program. “We have recorded cases where heavy metals are found in fish, which make up the bulk of protein intake for people in coastal areas and the Arctic region.” Fish is also an important food source in the Nordic countries.


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