• Client: European Environment Agency
  • Implementation period: 2017 - 2018 (Ongoing)
  • Geographic coverage: Europe

Assessing the levels of mercury pollution in Europe and directions for improvement

Mercury is a heavy metal that has negative impact on the health of natural ecosystems and human beings, if present in high concentrations. Although mercury occurs naturally in some places, it is released into the environment at an increasing through several industrial activities including fossil fuel combustion and the production of metals and chlor-alkali. Once released into the environment, it stays around for a long time, and as a consequence it accumulates in the environment.

In this project led by TNO, the aim is to provide the EEA with inputs for the next issue of the State Of the Environment Report (SOER) to be published in 2020, regarding the current status of mercury pollution in and releases to Europe’s environment. In order to do this an in-depth literature review will be performed. The project will deliver a report that summarises the current state of mercury in the European environment, the way in which it creates impacts on human health and what the EU can do to mitigate its effects.

Source: Dean, U.S.G.S.

The final report will touch upon the following topics:

  • Current uses of mercury in products
  • Mercury releases into the environment (characterisation of the sources)
  • Atmospheric and aquatic pathways with relevance for human health
  • Impact of mercury on human health & the environment
  • Policy instruments addressing mercury use and releases

From the analysis on the abovementioned topics we will draw conclusions on the state of mercury in Europe’s environment today and develop policy recommendations on how to reduce the impact that mercury has on the environment even further in the future.