Mercury

Mercury is strictly regulated in the  Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance (ORRChem) because of the problems it poses to human health and the environment. In addition, as of 2018, the import and export of metallic mercury and the import of mercury compounds are subject to restrictions and permit requirements.

1. Requirements for supply and use

Today, previously known uses of mercury are banned with a few exceptions. The ban applies to the use of mercury both as an auxiliary substance (as a catalyst in chemical syntheses or as a cathode in chlor-alkali electrolysis) and as a component of products such as batteries, measuring instruments and dental amalgam. Where no substitute for mercury is available, the quantity of mercury used is to be restricted to the minimum amount necessary (discharge lamps). Furthermore, as a safety measure, a precautionary ban has been introduced on uses unknown before 1 January 2018. The list below provides an overview of the uses regulated in ORRChem.

2. Import requirements

As of 1 January 2018, metallic mercury, mercury compounds and mercury alloys may only be imported with a permit issued by FOEN. A permit is not required for importation of such substances for use for analysis and research purposes from a country that has signed the Minamata Convention. Applications in accordance with Annex 1.7 Number 1.4.4 ORRChem are to be emailed to minamata@bafu.admin.ch.  

Information concerning customs declarations for imports requiring a permit and imports that do not require a permit is provided in the Directive R-60-6.6 Annex 1 on mercury of the Directorate General of Customs (in German).

3. Export requirements

As of 1 July 2018, in principle, metallic mercury may only be exported for analysis and research purposes and only with a permit issued by FOEN. Applications in accordance with Annex 1.7 Number 2.2.3 ORRChem are to be emailed to  minamata@bafu.admin.ch.

Applicants may use the form below:

Subject to approval by the importing country, FOEN may also authorise the export of metallic mercury for the manufacture of discharge lamps and for the maintenance of roll seam welding machines up until the end of 2020 and for the production of dental amalgam capsules up until the end of 2027, provided that the recipient declares that he/she will use the mercury solely for the purposes stated. Applications in accordance with Annex 1.7 Number 4.2 paragraph 3 ORRChem are to be emailed to minamata@bafu.admin.ch.

Applicants may use the form below:

Further information

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Last modification 11.07.2018

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