Another Stride Toward a Mercury-Free Future!

by | Jul 24, 2023 | Mercury / Heavy Metals

stamp saying mercury freeIt was almost three years ago that the FDA released new guidelines for using mercury amalgam, the material used for “silver” fillings. The agency now recommends that it not be used in certain high-risk populations:

  • Pregnant and nursing women.
  • Women who are planning on pregnancy.
  • Children, especially those under the age of 6.
  • People with MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other pre-existing neurological conditions.
  • People with impaired kidney function.
  • People allergic or highly sensitive to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.

Those groups make up about two-thirds of the US population, by the way.

Since then, the world’s two biggest dental manufacturers announced that they would no longer sell amalgam. A “Children’s Amendment” was added to the global mercury treaty known as the Minamata Convention, barring the use of mercury amalgam in children under the age of 15, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Now Europe is poised to ban mercury amalgam completely, with the European Commission having proposed a phase-out to begin on January 1, 2025.

As Dentistry Today recently reported,

Since there are viable mercury-free alternatives, dental amalgam shall no longer be used for dental treatments of any member of the population from January 1, 2025. The proposal also includes a ban on its manufacture and export, making an important contribution to reducing mercury emissions internationally.

The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and Council for formal approval.

“This is a milestone. Finally, we get a regulation for dental amalgam, the largest remaining use of mercury in Europe and a serious threat to health and the environment,” says Florian Schulze, director of the European Network for Environmental Medicine, who has been pushing for the phase-out for years.

“Numerous countries, such as Sweden, Norway, Moldova, Lithuania, Switzerland, Bolivia, Ecuador, Indonesia, the Philippines, or Zambia, have already phased out the use of amalgam. Most recently, Poland had replaced amalgam with alternatives in the statutory health insurance,” explains Schulze.

What does this mean for us in the US? There’s every reason to be hopeful, said Charles Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice in a recent email:

For the United States and Canada, a win in Europe portends change here too. First, it would cut off imports of amalgam from Europe. Second, it strengthens our case to end amalgam use in U.S. government programs and Canadian federal programs. Third, it signals to the diehard mercury users at the American Dental Association that they should abandon this poison sooner rather than later because we’re going to win the battle for mercury-free dentistry!

If you want to get more involved in that battle, head over to Consumers for Dental Choice or the IAOMT to find out about all the ways you can help.

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