The 1998 Aarhus Protocol on Heavy Metals
The Executive Body adopted the Protocol on Heavy Metals on 24 June 1998 in Aarhus (Denmark). It targets three particularly harmful metals: cadmium, lead and mercury. According to one of the basic obligations, Parties will have to reduce their emissions for these three metals below their levels in 1990 (or an alternative year between 1985 and 1995). The Protocol aims to cut emissions from industrial sources (iron and steel industry, non-ferrous metal industry), combustion processes (power generation, road transport) and waste incineration. It lays down stringent limit values for emissions from stationary sources and suggests best available techniques (BAT) for these sources, such as special filters or scrubbers for combustion sources or mercury-free processes. The Protocol requires Parties to phase out leaded petrol. It also introduces measures to lower heavy metal emissions from other products, such as mercury in batteries, and proposes the introduction of management measures for other mercury-containing products, such as electrical components (thermostats, switches), measuring devices (thermometers, manometers, barometers), fluorescent lamps, dental amalgam, pesticides and paint. The Protocol was amended in 2012, to adopt more stringent controls of heavy metals emissions and introduce flexibilities to facilitate accession of new Parties, notably countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Original text to the Protocol
EB Decision 2012/5 - Amendment of the text of and annexes other than III and VII to the 1998 Protocol on Heavy Metals
EB Decision 2012/6 - Amendment of annex III to the 1998 Protocol on Heavy Metals
Consolidated text of the amended Protocol - advance, unedited version
Consolidated text of the amended Protocol 2012 indicating modifications to the original 1998 Protocol text
Commentary by Katja Kraus, Chair of the Task Force on Heavy Metals, February 2013, on the importance of reducing heavy metals