This week marks the 7th anniversary of the Mercury Awareness Week, a joint campaign by Dr. Mercola and Consumers for Dental Choice, the organization leading the fight against the use of mercury amalgam in dentistry.
Our office has proudly been mercury-free – and mercury-SAFE! – for many years now. Through that time, we’ve seen more and more practices turn away from amalgam, too. Just a few decades ago, only 3% of American dentists were mercury-free. Today, more than half are.
More, we now have the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty that went into effect just last week. Among other measures to stop the use of mercury in consumer products and industry, it requires member countries to begin phasing out dental mercury – a provision fought for by Consumers for Dental Choice. And that’s just the latest milestone in the movement toward mercury-free dentistry.
1800s: Mercury-based amalgam fillings are introduced.
1830s: Dentists express concern about the health risks of filling teeth with mercury.
1845: The first US professional association of dentists, the American Society of Dental Surgeons (ASDS), makes its members sign a pledge not to use amalgam. They considered its use malpractice.
1850s: A group of pro-amalgam dentists abandons the ASDS and forms the organization today known as the American Dental Association, which continues to endorse mercury amalgam.
1920s and 30s: German chemist Alfred Stock’s research on mercury toxicity revives interest in amalgam research.
1970s: There is another surge in amalgam research, while Dr. Hal Huggins begins his very vocal campaign against dental amalgam. In 1985, he publishes the first edition of It’s All in Your Head: Diseases Caused by Silver-Mercury Fillings.
1996: Consumers for Dental Choice is founded with the ultimate goal to “phase out the use of amalgam…worldwide.”
1997: Sweden officially announces a ban on mercury amalgam, but it doesn’t pass EU administration until 2008. Norway bans amalgam in 2008, as well.
2013: The Minamata Convention on Mercury treaty is signed.
2016: A new EPA rule requires all dental offices that routinely handle amalgam to install separators to keep mercury out of the water supply. Although the rule is temporarily rolled back in early 2017, it is soon reinstated and takes effect come summer.
Learn more about the march toward mercury-free dentistry:
Yet for all the progress, we still have a long way to go. Find out how you can get involved in turning the promise of a mercury-free future into a reality.