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Mercury and the Environment

The goal of this section is to provide scientific background information and to outline current policies, programs, and practical guidance related to mercury. If you are looking for a general overview of the issues and concerns associated with mercury, the About Mercury page is a great place to start and contains information about mercury's history, chemical properties, biogeochemical cycling, transport through the atmosphere, and global circulation.  On this website, you will also find information on mercury legislation and guidelines of interest in the Federal Actions section, and specific information for stakeholders targeted by Environment Canada legislation in the Actions on Mercury at Environment Canada section.

Environment and Health Concerns

Selecting the Environment and Health Concerns heading on the menu bar to the left will open up an extended menu of subtopics. This section will be of interest if you are looking for information about sources of mercury, mercury in the food chain, health concerns, and fish consumption advisories.

Commercial and Consumer Products that Contain Mercury

Mercury has been used in a variety of commercial and consumer products due to its unique characteristics. These products include fluorescent lamps, thermometers and thermostats, batteries, dental amalgam, medical/measuring devices and switches and relays among others. This section includes information on these products and mercury-free alternatives.

Spills, Disposal and Cleanup

Because mercury is toxic even small mercury spills should be considered hazardous and should be cleaned up with caution and products containing mercury should be recycled or disposed of properly. The Spills, Disposal and Cleanup section contains information about cleaning up small mercury spills, what to do if a fluorescent lamp breaks and disposing of mercury products.

Taking Action

The What Can I Do? page outlines steps that you can take to protect yourself and the environment.

Managing and Reducing Mercury

The Managing and Reducing Mercury section contains information about the various approaches that are taken to address mercury issues. The subsections provide additional information about international actions, Federal Actions, Canada Wide Standards, and actions at the provincial/territorial and municipal level.

Research and Programs

Environment Canada is involved in the development and implementation of research and programs that will help reduce and manage anthropogenic releases of mercury. This section provides information on different initiatives and programs including voluntary and non-governmental actions.


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