Environmental Mercury Sources

Due to the wide range of products containing mercury, this section of the SafeMinds website will concentrate on several main categories of environmental mercury sources. There is an active international effort to reduce environmental mercury exposures, and much information is available from inter-governmental and NGO organizations.

References on adverse health outcomes from exposure to environmental mercury:

Halting the Child Brain Drain - Why we need to tackle global mercury contamination” by the ‘Stay Healthy! Stop Mercury’ campaign, December 2006. This document provides a good overview of the main sources of environmental mercury exposure and related health outcomes from a European perspective.

Options for reducing mercury use in products and applications, and the fate of mercury already circulating in society” by the European Commission, December 2008. This document contains a comprehensive list of products and manufacturing processes that use mercury. For each, it lists the amount of mercury utilized, circulated, and recovered along with options for reducing mercury use.

“The Global Atmospheric Mercury Assessment - Sources, Emissions, and Transport” by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), December 2008. This document provides a comprehensive overview of atmospheric mercury emissions. It describes sources of atmospheric mercury emissions and models transport/deposition geographically. This report can be downloaded here.  Click on "UNEP F&T Report" and use the following login for access and then click on "Full Report."  Login:  UNEP_FT  Password:  Partners 2008

Interstate Mercury Education & Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC) Mercury-Added Products Database

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a division of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), published “Children’s Exposure to Elemental Mercury: A National Review of Exposure Events” in February 2009. The report was created at the request of Congress due to concern over mercury poisoning of children attending a daycare in New Jersey that were exposed to elemental mercury because the building was previously a thermometer factory.

Product Pushers Report – New England Zero Mercury Campaign, 2002, provides a good description of mercury-containing consumer products at that time. It is helpful in that it groups the products by industry segment and manufacturer.

EPA website with mercury information


Downloadable database of Hg in products