Mercury (Hg)

CAS Number



  • highly toxic heavy metal

Main sources

  • waste incineration
  • steelworks (founding of metal waste)

Thresholds for the reporting requirement of facilities in accordance with Annex 2 PRTRO

(Ordinance on the Register relating to Pollutant Release and the Transfer of Waste and of Pollutants in Waste Water)

  • Air               10 kg/year
  • Water          1 kg/year
  • Soil              1 kg/year


  • highly toxic to humans and animals when inhaled
  • at chronic levels, damages several organs such as the liver and kidneys and the immune system of humans and animals (accumulates in bodies)
  • toxic to plants and microorganisms
  • reduces soil fertility


  • introduction of the flue gas cleaning system in municipal waste incineration installations

Status and changes

Mercury emissions in industrial nations were especially high in the 1980s and 1990s. The main sources were municipal waste incineration installations without flue gas cleaning systems and crematories. Mercury emissions were reduced in Switzerland from 1985 to 2003 by over 85%. Since then, they have remained stable.

Further information

Last modification 16.12.2016

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