The entry into force of the Minamata Convention on Mercury Aug. 16 will spur companies worldwide to restrict their use of mercury and pursue alternatives to mercury added products.

The convention seeks to protect human health and curb environmental contamination by obligating its parties to broadly limit the use and export of mercury and restrict mercury emissions into the air, soil, and water.

The legally binding treaty—named after Japan’s Minamata Bay where industrial pollution led to widespread mercury poisoning in the 1950s—requires its signatories to phase out many common mercury-added products by 2020 and mercury-bearing processes by 2025. The U.S....