MOSCOW, July 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russia intends to join the international Minamata Convention on Mercury, which has as its goal, a phasing out of the substance’s use by 2020, the Russian government stated.
"Approval of the Minimata Convention on Mercury submitted by the Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is consistent with the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry and other federal bodies. Instruct the Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry to sign the convention on behalf of the Russian Federation, with the authorization to make nonessential changes in the attached draft document," the order reads.
According to the convention, products containing mercury or mercury compounds — medical thermometers, pressure gauges, barometers, and other measuring devices, fluorescent lamps, batteries, mercury amalgam in dentistry, as well as some types of soaps and cosmetics — must be taken out of production and withdrawn from use by 2020. Acetaldehyde production which uses mercury as a catalyst must stop by 2018, and chlor-alkali production with the help of mercury must end by 2025. In special cases, the use of the metal in medical instruments may be permitted up to 2030.
The convention is named after a Japanese city where more than 1,700 residents suffered from severe poisoning by mercury compounds in 1956.
Until October 9, 2014, the convention is open to signatures from member states and regional organizations at the UN headquarters in New York.