The children of Europe got an early Christmas this year: a ban on mercury amalgam fillings in youth under 16, as well as in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
This landmark agreement was reached at a summit of the three E.U. institutions (Parliament, Commission, and Council) on December 6 and 7. Its other provisions include a mandate for every member nation to submit its plan on how it will reduce amalgam use generally, and a promise to examine the issue of a full phaseout in 2020.
The agreement goes into effect on July 1, 2018.
“This partial ban on dental amalgams is excellent news,” said Genon Jensen of the Health and Environmental Alliance, “especially for children’s health.”
It will not only help protect the health of mothers and children but also contribute to reducing everyone’s environmental exposure to mercury. Several Member States either disallow amalgam use or have already reduced it to less than 10% of all dental fillings. We hope each Member States will now take seriously its duty to reduce amalgam use for everyone.
And we hope that the US will finally come around to making the same commitment to ending the use of this highly toxic material – as our nation is in fact obligated to do under the terms of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
Of course, it will take all of us urging our law- and policymakers to act even as we continue to educate on the dangers amalgam presents to the health of patients and planet alike. One recent push has come from activist Laura Henze Russell and colleagues who are encouraging everyone to contact their senators and representatives over the winter break and work with their local media to build momentum in making all medical devices safe, including dental filling materials.
For as they write in a recent opinion piece for MetroWest Daily,
Congress – and the new Trump Administration – your job is not done. The Senate should press for inclusion of Ariel Grace’s Law, the Medical Device Guardians Act, for immediate release of the FDA’s draft 2012 Patient Safety Communication on Dental Amalgam, and investigate the history of problems in the dental and gynecological device units.
Begin working on a comprehensive 21st Century Medical Device Safety Act. Make patient health and safety top priority. Reboot FDA’s Device Center. Ensure medical and dental devices are “right for us” before installation. Prevent medical harm, heartache, chronic diseases, disability, and rising health care costs from FDA-approved devices. Make America Healthy Again.
Need to find out who your reps are? Start here.
It’s amazing that the European community can collectively be more responsive to a clear and present health danger than our own FDA. How that agency will maintain the illusion that mercury is not safe in the EU but somehow safe here in the USA is anyone’s guess.
In the meantime, thank you, Europe, for doing your part to make this world a healthier place.
And to all, a very merry and blessed Christmas and happy new year! We’ll see you back here on January 5, 2017.