Mercury is a toxic substance that adversely affects human health and the environment around the world. Mercury finds its way to consumers at the top of the food chain through different ecosystems, and also to the environment through long-range airborne transport.
The majority of mercury emissions are caused by manufacturing and processing of mercury and use of mercury in various products and industrial processes.
The global mercury agreement, the Minamata Convention, is used to restrict mercury emissions and the use of mercury. The convention has been implemented in the EU with the Mercury Regulation, which is directly applicable in all EU Member States.
Mercury is mainly used for dental care. Mercury primarily gets into the human body via food. The use of mercury in dental amalgam is the largest use of mercury in the European Union and the Mercury Regulation lays down restrictions for its use. The use of mercury in certain products, such as thermometers, was banned years ago with the EU REACH regulation.
In Finland, Tukes is responsible for supervising compliance with the prohibitions and restrictions related to the manufacturing and placing on the market of products referred to in Articles 5 and 8 of the Mercury Regulation. Finnish Customs supervises the import and export of products that contain mercury. Restrictions on the use of mercury are supervised by Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment and municipal environmental protection authorities. The Finnish Environment Institute acts as the competent authority under the Mercury Regulation with regard to matters other than the monitoring of mercury-added products and their manufacturing processes (Article 8, section 3), for which Tukes is the competent authority.
There are also various other restrictions on the use of mercury, such as regulations on cosmetics, toys, electrical and electronic appliances and measuring instruments.
Information about mercury compounds is available in the KemiDigi service along with information about all other chemical substances and mixtures.