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Public health policies must take the health hazards of heavy metals into account

Strasbourg, 27.05.2011 - In a resolution adopted today in Kyiv, PACE called on member states to eliminate as many heavy metals and other metals as possible from the human environment and to prevent their bioaccumulation in nature, the food chain and the human body. In respect of the most toxic heavy metals, such as mercury, member states should prohibit or limit the use of these substances by industry, agriculture and the medical sector – particularly the use of mercury in dental amalgams. Preventive health policies for reducing human exposure to these harmful substances are a priority, in the parliamentarians’ view.

Endorsing the conclusions of Jean Huss (Luxembourg, SOC), rapporteur on this question, PACE also asked member states to promote the establishment within the EU of stricter rules on the production, use and import of products containing heavy metals and other metals, including specific limits for exposure to these substances. Furthermore, the Assembly reiterated its appeal to promote within the Council of Europe the idea of an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to a healthy environment. This right could be also introduced into the revised European Social Charter, according to the Assembly.