• Mercury assessment in the marine environment: assessment criteria comparison (EAC/EQS) for mercury

      OSPAR Commission; McHugh, B.; Berbee, R.; Farmer, E.; Fryer, R.; Green, N.; Larsen, M.M.; Webster, L.; Lepom, P.; McGovern, E.; Maes, T.; Verbruggen, E.; ICES Marine Chemistry Working Group (OSPAR Commission, 2016)
      Mercury is known for its worldwide environmental impact. It is addressed by several existing international agreements addressing atmospheric emissions (CLRTAP), the marine environment (OSPAR, HELCOM, Barcelona, Bucharest), waste (Basel), and export of chemicals (Rotterdam). It can be brought into the biosphere by humans by two different mechanisms: 1) intentional extraction and use, and 2) as a natural constituent in other materials. Mercury is extremely toxic to both man and biota and can be transformed within the aquatic environment into more toxic organic compounds (e.g. methyl mercury). A main pathway of mercury to the sea is atmospheric and it can be carried long distances from its source. The primary risk to the general population is exposure to methylmercury via ingestion of aquatic foods. OSPAR measures and subsequent EU measures regulate the main industrial sources for mercury releases to the environment. A suite of OSPAR measures control mercury emissions, discharges and sources. OSPAR has promoted actions in other international forums, especially the EU, e.g. call for actions to prevent pollution from the disposal of large amounts of pure and waste mercury arising from the closure or conversion of mercury cell chlor-alkali plants and for control measures on the use and marketing of mercury in various products.