It’s not a headline to be proud of, but it is a headline that should motivate more of us into action:
Just how far behind are we?
The 28-member European Union (EU), with an estimated population of over 510 million people, recently announced its decision to ban amalgam use in children under age 15, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers. The ban comes into effect July 2018.
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In Norway and Sweden, dental amalgam is no longer in use, while it is being phased out in Japan, Finland and the Netherlands. In Mauritius and EU nations, it is banned from use on children. Denmark uses dental amalgam for only 5% of restorations and Germany for 10% of restorations.
In Bangladesh, it is to be phased out in 2018, and in India, there is a dental school requirement of eliminating amalgam in favour of alternatives.
In Nigeria, the government has printed and distributed consumer-information brochures while the government of Canada has recommended that all dentists stop its use in children and pregnant women — and those with kidney disorders.
Meanwhile, in the US:
Yes, we do have the new amalgam separator rule. That will do a lot to keep mercury out of our environment, not to mention our food chain and ourselves. But it does nothing to keep it out of people’s mouths.
And yes, we were actually the first country to accept, approve, or ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which took effect yesterday. Yet as we noted before, the way it’s written, a nation could be in compliance just by setting some goals for a phase-down. Follow-through can be a different matter.
Again, from the article headlined above:
Michael Bender, Director, Mercury Policy Project in Vermont, USA, told IPS: “During negotiations, the US stated position was ‘to achieve the phase down, with the goal, the eventual phase out’ of dental amalgam. FDA should stop acting like a rogue agency and follow the US position.”
“FDA must now fish or cut bait,” added Charlie Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice. “With our petition in its lap, FDA must choose between, on the one hand, doing its duty as a federal agency, and, on the other hand, keeping in place its four-decade-long program of putting profits for pro-mercury dentists ahead of lives of American children.”
It’s up to all of us to keep putting pressure on the FDA to respect the science demonstrating mercury amalgam’s hazard to human health, as well as the reality that the longer mercury remains in use in any industry, the longer we will have to pay for its effects on both individual and environmental health. (More on the real cost of mercury)
There is no good reason to continue using this toxic material – and every reason to finally chuck it the bin of bad medicine and seal it tight.
This Sunday marks the start of this year’s Mercury-Free Dentistry Awareness Week, a joint campaign by Dr. Mercola and Consumers for Dental Choice. There will be lots of ways for you to get involved, from signing petitions to writing letters to donating time or money to the cause. But it will take all of us working together to create the change we need – for our health and the planet’s.
But it’s also a good time to look back and take heart from what we’ve accomplished so far: