National Environment Agency
National Environment Agency - Pollution Control Department
Consultation Period:
04 Feb 2016 - 03 Mar 2016
Closed - Summary of Responses

Consultation Outcome


1 The National Environment Agency (NEA) has concluded the public consultation exercise on the tightening of controls for mercury-added batteries and button cell batteries sold in Singapore. The four week long consultation exercise ended on 3 March 2016. 

2 Prior to the public consultation, NEA had also gathered feedback from battery manufacturers and suppliers through industry consultation sessions. With the feedback gathered from the industry, the NEA drafted the proposed implementation framework for public consultation via the REACH portal. In all, 19 companies provided their feedback via a joint comment paper using the REACH portal. The respondents to the consultation paper were generally supportive of the proposed draft Implementation Framework for mercury-added batteries and suggested further refinements, including the request for test reports to be produced only upon the authority’s request. 

3 NEA has considered and examined the feedback submitted on the proposed control measures. Our responses to the key comments received are reflected in the table below. In this regard, NEA will consider incorporating the suggestions, as well as to augment other suggestions with approaches based on our assessment, in the proposed regulations.

Key Issues Identified

NEA’s Response

Clarification required on whether products imported with mercury‐added batteries and button cell batteries in the same packaging would be within the scope of NEA’s regulation.

Products imported with mercury-added batteries (including button cell batteries) in the same packaging and mercury‐added batteries (including button cell batteries) imported as stand‐alone products will be controlled.

Products with embedded mercury-added batteries and button cell batteries are exempted from controls.

Clarification required on whether button Zinc Air batteries and button Zinc Silver Oxide batteries containing less than 2% of mercury by weight, which are exempted from the Minamata Convention, will also be exempted.

Button Zinc Air batteries and button Zinc Silver Oxide batteries containing less than 2% of mercury by weight will not be exempted. The proposed control measure is to prohibit the local sale of all batteries including button cell batteries which includes button Zinc Air batteries and button Zinc Silver Oxide batteries containing more than 5ppm (0.0005%) mercury (by weight).

Suggestion for a once-off declaration and test reports to be retained by companies and be submitted upon request by the NEA instead of submitting it at import stage, so as to reduce complexity, administrative and cost burden to the industry.



For products bundled with batteries in the same packaging, NEA agrees with the suggestion by the feedback provider to harmonise the compliance approach with the EU approach where companies are required to show proof of compliance upon request by the authority.

Stand-alone batteries imported into Singapore will need to comply with the proposed framework requiring importers/traders to submit a declaration of compliance and/or laboratory test report at import stage.  This proposed framework is in line with the current control measure implemented for mercury-added batteries where battery importers/traders are required to declare via the Tradenet system. The battery importers/traders will need to provide sufficient evidence (i.e. battery manufacturer’s declaration, battery manufacturer’s laboratory test report or its equivalent etc.) to prove that the battery is compliant.

NEA notes that the proposed approach to submit a declaration of compliance and/or laboratory test report at import stage differs from the practice in the EU where companies would prepare and retain the relevant technical documentation to be presented upon request by the authority.

The EU controls all batteries whether or not they are embedded into  the appliances and therefore, it may be challenging for companies to submit declaration at import stage. However, in Singapore’s context, the scope of controlled batteries is targeted at stand-alone batteries and batteries bundled with products in the same packaging, at this point of time.

Suggestion for NEA to clearly indicate in its requirements that the following batteries (including button cells form) are subjected to submission of test report, for potentially containing mercury content:

  • Zinc‐Carbon batteries,
  • Alkaline batteries,
  • Mercury Oxide batteries,
  • Zinc Silver Oxide batteries,
  • Zinc Air batteries

The NEA agrees with the suggestion, but with minor amendment:

The following batteries (including button cell batteries) sold as stand-alone products, are subjected to submission of declaration and/or laboratory test report by the battery importers/traders, for potentially containing mercury at point of importation into Singapore:

  • Zinc‐Carbon batteries,
  • Alkaline batteries,
  • Mercury Oxide batteries,
  • Zinc Silver Oxide batteries,
  • Zinc Air batteries

For batteries (covering the above types of batteries) bundled with products in the same packaging, companies are required to show proof of compliance upon request by the authority.

Clarification on whether manufacturer’s in-house testing laboratories refers to battery manufacturer and not final product importer.

Manufacturer’s in-house testing laboratories refer to the battery manufacturer’s in-house testing laboratories. However, the battery importers/traders are responsible for obtaining these documentations from the manufacturer and to submit them to the authority upon request.

Suggestion that NEA should accept any existing test reports that are harmonised with international battery requirements without the need to go through additional testing requirement.

NEA accepts test methods that are internationally recognised. Test reports that are harmonised with international battery requirements would also be accepted if they meet Singapore’s requirements.

NEA does not prescribe a specific test method so as to afford importers/traders the flexibility to choose internationally recognised methods which are accessible to them.

4 The NEA is grateful for the constructive feedback and comments received which have contributed to the decision-making process. We would like to thank all stakeholders and members of the public who have participated in the consultation exercises and would like to encourage the public to actively participate in future calls for comments. 


  1. The National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore is carrying out a public consultation on a plan to phase out the use of mercury-added batteries (including button cell batteries) containing more than 5ppm mercury (by weight) per cell. The phase-out would mean that companies cannot manufacture, import and export mercury-added batteries (including button cell batteries) in Singapore by 2018. The consultation period will last 4 weeks from 4 Feb 2016 to 3 Mar 2016.

Detailed Description


  1. The Minamata Convention on Mercury (Convention) is a global, legally binding instrument that seeks “to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.” Singapore signed on to the Minamata Convention on 10 Oct 2013 to demonstrate our commitment to safeguard the environment. Once Singapore proceeds to ratify the Minamata Convention, the controls under the convention which include but are not limited to emissions and releases, trading of mercury for allowable uses and control of mercury-added products such as batteries would come into force and would come under legislative control. The full list of mercury-added products to be controlled under the convention is shown in Annex 1.

Rationale for tightening the control for Mercury-added Batteries and Button Cell Batteries

  1. Batteries are common power sources that are used to power up a wide range of portable devices which are commonly found in households (e.g. clock, toy, radio etc.). It can also come in the form of button cells which are used for small devices such as calculators, hearing aids and watches (refer to Annex 2 for types of controlled batteries). In order to ensure the durability of these products, mercury is used to inhibit corrosion; otherwise corrosion in batteries can lead to gas build-up, and eventually physical bulging and leakage, or it can limit battery function.

  2. The Minamata Convention requires the manufacture, import or export of all mercury-added batteries to be phased out by 2020. This is with the exception of button zinc silver oxide batteries and button zinc air batteries with mercury content of less than 2% which are excluded from the 2020 phase-out schedule under the Convention.

  3. Currently, under NEA’s Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA), Singapore prohibits the import of zinc-carbon batteries containing more than 10ppm of mercury (by weight) per cell, alkaline batteries containing more than 250ppm mercury (by weight) per cell and mercury oxide batteries for local sale. All button cell batteries are exempted under the EPMA. The controls measures under the Minamata Convention are more stringent than NEA’s current requirements.

  4. With technological advancement, the methodology for manufacturing mercury-free batteries is well established. Many major producers are already making the transition towards manufacturing mercury-free batteries in response to market demand and government policies. Mercury-free alternatives are therefore available.

  5. The cost impact on manufacturers and consumers is expected to be reduced over time as production systems and manufacturing technology improve with economies of scale, due to increasing demand for mercury-free batteries worldwide.

Scope of Control

  1. In aligning NEA’s proposed controls with the provisions of the Minamata Convention, NEA will adopt the list of exemptions under Annex A of the Minamata Convention (refer to Annex 1 of  REACH Document for exemptions). NEA will also extend the scope of control measures to include all mercury-added button cell batteries.

  2. Following a market survey and industry consultation on the type of mercury-added batteries being sold and traded in Singapore, NEA plans to enhance the existing controls for mercury-added batteries to include button cell batteries, and to phase out all batteries that contain mercury exceeding 5ppm mercury (by weight) per cell by restricting the manufacture, import and export of all non-compliant mercury-added batteries (including button cell batteries) in Singapore by 2018, ahead of the phase-out date of 2020 specified in the Minamata Convention.

Key Features of Proposed Control for Batteries in Singapore

  1. The mercury limits for batteries that are proposed for control in Singapore are aligned with the current limits stipulated in the European Battery Directive (Directive 2013/56/EU) where the following are not allowed to be placed on the market :

    1. All batteries or accumulators that contain > 5ppm mercury (by weight);

    2. All button cells with > 5ppm mercury (by weight).

Transitional Provisions

  1. NEA plans to publish the gazette on the revised controls that would be covered under the EPMA in the 4th Quarter of 2016. NEA would allow for a one-year grace period after the gazette to provide battery importers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers time to clear their existing stocks of batteries and to meet contractual agreements; comply with the requirements set forth; and for suppliers to source alternatives manufacturers.

  2. With effect from 1st Quarter 2018, the import, manufacture and export of non-compliant batteries in Singapore would be prohibited. The effective date for i) locally manufactured electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) to be sold in Singapore would be the date of manufacture; and ii) imported EEE to be sold in Singapore would be the date of import. Batteries that are supplied in the market before the effective implementation date will be allowed for local sale till stocks are depleted.

Compliance and Testing

  1. Manufacturers /Importers /Distributors must declare the battery conformity at import/export stage with NEA and produce test reports of the mercury content of the batteries to demonstrate compliance with the proposed mercury limits and quality standards. Test reports from one of the following categories of testing laboratories will be accepted:

    1. Manufacturer’s in-house testing laboratories,

    2. Testing laboratories in countries other than Singapore that are accredited by their local accreditation bodies, which have signed a Mutual Recognition Arrangement with the Singapore Accreditation Council (SAC), to carry out the test in accordance with the applicable test standards, or

    3. Testing laboratories that are accredited by the SAC to carry out the test in accordance with the applicable test standards.

  2. Non-compliant batteries are not allowed to be sold in Singapore. The batteries placed on the market must be compliant with Singapore’s requirements. As part of our enforcement process, NEA conducts market surveillance to test scheduled products for compliance. If a product is suspected to be non-compliant, NEA may request for the manufacturer/trader’s declaration of conformity and test reports. NEA may also send the product for testing. Companies that are found guilty may be subject to product withdrawal and penalty.

Moving Forward

  1. In accordance with our obligations to the Minamata Convention, NEA will extend restrictions on mercury content to other five categories of products containing mercury, such as lightings, switches and relays etc., that are listed in the convention for phase-out by 2020, and will regularly review the relevance of such limits.

Public Consultation

  1. Parties who are interested to provide feedback on the above issue may submit your comments to The consultation exercise will end on 3 Mar 2016.

  2. To ensure that the consultation is productive and focused, respondents are requested to observe these guidelines when providing their feedback:

    • Please identify yourself as well as the organization you represent (if any) so that we may follow up with you to clarify any issues, if necessary.

    • Please be clear and concise in your comments.

    • Please focus your comments on the proposal and how it can be improved.

    • As far as possible, please substantiate your points with illustrations, examples, data or alternative suggestions.

  3. This proposal is released for the purpose of consultation. All comments received during the consultation exercise will be reviewed thoroughly and may be incorporated into the final measure.