The European Commission approved a Directive on December 22 1998 adapting to technical progress Directive 91/157/EEC on batteries and accumulators containing certain dangerous substances. Since 1985, industry has gradually reduced the mercury content of batteries whilst at the same time developing substitute products such as lithium and zinc-air batteries.

The new Directive takes note of this evolution and stipulates that from January 1 2000 at the latest, the Member States must prohibit the marketing of batteries and accumulators containing more than 0.0005% of mercury by weight, including in those cases where these batteries and accumulators are incorporated into appliances. The Directive also covers batteries and...

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