Abstract Although representative removal efficiencies of gaseous mercury for air pollution control devices (APCDs) are important to prepare more reliable atmospheric emission inventories of mercury, they have been still uncertain because they depend sensitively on many factors like the type of APCDs, gas temperature, and mercury speciation. In this study, representative removal efficiencies of gaseous mercury for several types of APCDs of municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) were offered using a statistical method. 534 data of mercury removal efficiencies for APCDs used in MSWI were collected. APCDs were categorized as fixed-bed absorber (FA), wet scrubber (WS), electrostatic precipitator (ESP), and fabric filter (FF), and their hybrid systems. Data series of all APCD types had Gaussian log-normality. The average removal efficiency with a 95% confidence interval for each APCD was estimated. The FA, WS, and FF with carbon and/or dry sorbent injection systems had 75% to 82% average removal efficiencies. On the other hand, the ESP with/without dry sorbent injection had lower removal efficiencies of up to 22%. The type of dry sorbent injection in the FF system, dry or semi-dry, did not make more than 1% difference to the removal efficiency. The injection of activated carbon and carbon-containing fly ash in the FF system made less than 3% difference. Estimation errors of removal efficiency were especially high for the ESP. The national average of removal efficiency of APCDs in Japanese MSWI plants was estimated on the basis of incineration capacity. Owing to the replacement of old APCDs for dioxin control, the national average removal efficiency increased from 34.5% in 1991 to 92.5% in 2003. This resulted in an additional reduction of about 0.86 Mg emission in 2003. Further study using the methodology in this study to other important emission sources like coal-fired power plants will contribute to better emission inventories.