14,772 kg mercury spreads in environment every year

ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman

20 March, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Around 14,772 kg mercury is spreading in the atmosphere of Bangladesh every year, affecting public health and environment seriously.

The findings were disclosed in a study report titled “Mercury-Added Products and Available Alternatives in Bangladesh.”

Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) conducted the study to assess the quantity of mercury-added products and availability of its alternatives in the country.

Mercury is a toxic element which impacts human health and environment seriously, when it spreads in the atmosphere.

The disposed electrical  and  electronic  devices,  switches, relays, fluorescent bulbs, paints, batteries, dental amalgam, some laboratory  equipments, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, jewelry items etc are the usual  sources of mercury.

“Mercury is used in different products. We should refuse to use these products as we have alternatives sufficiently,” said Professor Dr. Abul Hashem, Chairman of Chemical Division at BSTI.

Mercury used in different products is highly toxic which has adverse impact on environment and public health. It may cause cancer, rashes, abdominal pain, and neurological disorder etc, the professor said.

Particularly pregnant women, children and lactating mothers are vulnerable to the toxins of mercury.

Around 86 percent distributors/retailers, who are trading mercury-added products, said that they have sufficient alternatives. So people can choose mercury-free products.

ESDO Chairperson Syed Marghub Morshed said: “If the use of mercury-added products continues unabated, the consequence will be catastrophic.”

“We should be aware of the adverse effect of these products and go for its alternatives,” he suggested.

“About 8613.8 kg mercury generated only from few products like thermometers, Sphygmomanometers, CFL Bulbs, Switches and Relays, Batteries, Cosmetics and Paints,” said Dr. Shahriar Hossain, secretary general of ESDO.