To align with the international trend in mercury control, which is to gradually limit and eventually ban it, and to comply with the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the EPA announced the Restrictions on the Import of Mercury-Containing Products (限制含汞產品輸入) on 25 August 2020. The new rules tighten mercury control in Taiwan by banning the import of mercury-containing switches and relays, high-pressure mercury lamps, and non-electronic measuring instruments such as barometers, hygrometers, pressure gauges, thermometers, and sphygmomanometers from 1 January 2021. Violators will be fined NT$60,000 to NT$300,000.
Mercury and its compounds are mostly used in measuring instruments, electric appliances, and electronic products, but the use of mercury-containing products has been on a decline with the development of electronic instruments and consumer electronics. Since mercury is persistent and bioaccumulative, once it enters the human body through inhalation or ingestion, it is difficult to be excreted, and may cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Accumulation over a long period can damage the brain, nervous system, and organs like liver, kidneys, and lungs. Without proper collection and treatment, mercury can circulate in the environment, causing pollution and harming humans. For these reasons, the EPA has taken control measures in accordance with the Minamata Convention.
The EPA noted that the importation and sales of mercury thermometers have been restricted since 2008. Due to the harm mercury can cause the environment and human health, the Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau further announced the revised Toxic Chemical Substances Listed for Control and Relevant Operations and Management (列管毒性化學物質及其運作管理事項 ) on July 2019, banning the manufacturing of mercury-containing products after 1 January 2021. The announcement this time further imposed the ban on the importation of mercury-containing products after 1 January 2021 to step up mercury control in Taiwan and safeguard the environment and human health.
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2. https://topic.epa.gov.tw/hg/mp-3.html (Chinese)
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (10)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)