Statistics in brief - Mercury

Use of mercury in products

Graph. Use of mercury in products in Sweden.

Source: Compilation for a report to the European Commission in January 2008, the Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

A large amount of mercury, about 200 tonnes, is used in one plant for production of chlorine and hydroxides in Sweden. Other main uses are in batteries, light sources, flat panels and in amalgam for dental fillings. The use in light sources can be expected to increase with the changeover to low energy light sources. A method analysing water gives an account of some of the use. Mercury is also used in neon tubes and measurement instruments. The substance has many minor applications. Since 1992 it is not permitted to manufacture or import new thermometers or other instruments containing mercury. Exemption for some use could be granted.

Annual supply to the Swedish society via products 2003, 2005 and 2006, in kg
Area of use200320052006
Thermometers 1* 0 0.03
Electrical components 0 0.3 0
Measurement instruments  20 2.7 4.2
Batteries 100-140   126
Light sources 121 0 130¤
Neon tubes  18 9 3
Flat panels      57
Amalgam 103    
Analysis chemicals  53    
Sum 435 >12 >330

* Two different sources

¤ Data for 2007 

Source: Compilation for a report to the European Commission in January 2008, the Swedish Chemicals Agency and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

The use of mercury in thermometers and electrical components has almost disappeared since the beginning of the 90s. The use as dental amalgam has decreased with over 90 percent since 1997 when it was 980 kg. The figures are based on information from many suppliers of equipment, from the Swedish EPA and from the applications for exemptions from the ban handled by the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

Mercury turn-over in Sweden 1996 - 2012

Graph. Mercury turn-over in Sweden 1996-2012.

Source: Statistics Sweden.

Most areas of use and export, also as hazardous waste, require authorisation or exemption from the export ban.

The increased import during 2006 to 2009 was due to the fact that mercury containing articles used in Sweden were reprocessed abroad and the recovered mercury then imported back.