Tag Archives: mercury

Amalgams & Mercury Damage

amalgamsBefore yesterday was through, the ADA was in full spin mode over Thursday’s Dr. Oz Show: “Are Your Silver Fillings Making You Sick?” Apparently oblivious to irony, they reiterated their usual claim that there’s “no sound science” supporting mercury amalgam’s well-documented health risks – and then insisted on its safety.

As if saying something often and loudly and forcefully enough could somehow make it true.

It’s like when amalgam’s defenders say that the mercury it contains isn’t the dangerous kind – and is even a little magical:

Mercury is an important component in the fillings because it effectively binds the other metals together, forming a strong bond that contributes to the filling’s durability. It is important to note that there are several kinds of mercury. The mercury found in water that can build up in fish and lead to health problems if you ingest too much is not the same type of mercury used in amalgam. The mercury in amalgam is contained, or sequestered, within the filling.

Of course, even the ADA agrees that mercury vapor is released during chewing or grinding. A 2009 paper in Chemical Research in Toxicology estimated that older fillings may have lost up to 95% of their original mercury content. That mercury doesn’t just disappear, of course. The body’s self-regulating mechanisms clear as much of it as it possibly can. That which isn’t excreted is stored, typically gravitating toward fatty tissues such as the liver and brain.

More, although the mercury in amalgam may start out in elemental form, it doesn’t stay that way. As Dr. Huggins notes in It’s All in Your Head, mercury released from amalgams fillings can become methylated.

Mercury is highly reactive chemically. It likes to combine with biological tissue. In the mouth, mercury has the ability to combine with a carbon-hydrogen compound called a methyl group. When mercury combines with methyl groups it is called methyl mercury.

Methylation actually begins in the mouth , due to the action of oral bacteria, but it can occur elsewhere (also). And “although the amounts found are small,” wrote researchers in the Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Science, “any measurable amount of methyl mercury” only adds to a body’s total toxic burden.

Methylmercury is a bioaccumulative toxin. That’s why mercury in fish – especially fatty fish – is such a concern. When mercury contaminates water, it gets methylated by bacteria. Fish exposed to this methylmercury accumulate it in their bodies. When we eat them, we get a dose of the stuff, too.

And there is no question about it: the stuff is highly toxic. It’s main damage is neurological, particularly during the developmental period before birth and into a child’s early years of life.

Of course, it has other effects, as well – including a somewhat surprising one suggested by a recent study. Methylmercury exposure in young adulthood appears to raise the risk of developing diabetes later in life.

The study, published last month in Diabetes Care, analyzed data from nearly 4000 adults between the ages of 20 and 32. According to lead author Ka He of Indiana University,

Our results are consistent with findings from laboratory studies and provide longitudinal human data, suggesting that people with high mercury exposure in young adulthood may have elevated risk of diabetes later in life.

Why? It may be related, at least partly, to pancreatic beta cell dysfunction. These cells have been shown to play a major role in type 2 diabetes.

The abstract of the Diabetes Care study is available here.

We know that our current diabetes epidemic, like its companion obesity epidemic, has many causes. Further study is needed to know if we need to add yet another cause to that list.

Image by Enzo Carretta, via Wikimedia Commons

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Like Mercury, BPA Deemed Warning-Worthy

There was good news from Geneva recently: 140 countries have now agreed to the global mercury treaty, several years in the making. Once ratified by 50 nations, it will become legally-binding. Its main goal is to reduce mercury emissions, and to that end, it includes steps toward a phase-out of dental amalgam.

Similarly good news came from Sacramento this week: the state Environmental Protection Agency, Cal/EPA, announced their intent to declare BPA a reproductive hazard. This means it would become subject to Prop. 65 requirements – the same rules that require dental offices to display warnings about the presence of mercury in amalgam.

prop65_warnPublic comments will be accepted for the usual 30 days before BPA can be officially added to the Prop. 65 list. (Want to submit your own? Details here.)

No, it’s not a ban, but it is a step in the right direction – just as the mercury treaty is a step in the right direction. Yes, the treaty could be stronger. Still, it’s the broadest acknowledgement yet of the hazards posed by “silver” fillings and does require some action.

Of course, many dentists, biological and conventional alike, have already stopped filling teeth with amalgam, opting for composite instead – the stuff used for sealants and “white” or “tooth-colored” fillings. Unfortunately, some brands of composite contain BPA. So now you sometimes hear mercury’s defenders say that since BPA is a toxin, too, what does it matter? Why not just keep placing amalgam?

Yes, BPA is a toxin – a known endocrine disruptor that’s been linked to conditions like cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and erectile dysfunction. Its ability to alter reproductive hormones endangers fetuses and infants, and a leading cause of the recent spike in cases of early onset puberty, especially for girls.

But with respect to dental products, there’s a catch. In the words of my colleague Dr. Gary Verigin,

…while all amalgam fillings contain mercury, not all composites contain BPA

Indeed, we – and you – have options. The new generation nontoxic alternatives, as we mentioned before, are

strong and durable, less prone to fail and certainly more aesthetic. Placing composite is also a less invasive procedure than placing amalgam, letting you retain more natural tooth structure.

More natural structure means a stronger tooth, as well.

We also have the help of compatibility testing. Through blood serum, electrodermal screening and other methods, we can identify materials best suited for any particular patient – meaning, also, the healthiest.

Always, the health of the patient comes first.

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7 Must-See Videos on Mercury “Silver” Amalgam Fillings

Again this year, Dr. Mercola and Charlie Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice have teamed up to promote Mercury-Free Dentistry Week – an event designed to raise awareness of the toxic burden of so-called “silver” amalgam fillings on patients, dental personnel and our planet. As part of the event, Mercola.com has been adding some great new material to their already excellent mercury section. I encourage you to check it out – and to share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites you regularly use.

For the sad truth is that even today, less than 25% of consumers realize that “silver” fillings are mercury fillings. But the more who do – and understand their impact on health – the more momentum we can give to all efforts in the fight for mercury-free dentistry.

You may also want to share some or all of the 7 videos I’ve embedded below. Some I’ve featured here before. Many are now standard sources of info on the amalgam problem.

Quecksilber: The Strange Story of Dental Amalgam

 

An Open Letter to Dental Deans & Professors

 

Smoking Teeth = Poison Gas

 

How Mercury Causes Brain Damage

 

Dental Amalgams Leach Mercury Vapor into Your Brain

 

Mercury: The Poison in Your Teeth

 

Safer Amalgam Removal

 

For more ways you can help get mercury out of dentistry, visit the “Take Action” page of Consumers for Dental Choice.

Resources for finding a mercury-free, mercury-safe dentist in your area:

Previously

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Fluoride & Mercury (Again)

Two news items this week on a couple of dental issues familiar to you regular readers:

More Evidence of Neurodevelopmental
Harm from Fluoride

Last year, some important new research showed that prolonged exposure to fluoride can harm children’s developing brains and nervous systems. A new study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives – a journal of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – supports these earlier findings.

The research involved “a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies to investigate the effects of increased fluoride exposure and delayed neurobehavioral development.” Through their analysis of 27 such studies, the authors found that “children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low fluoride areas.” According to the press release from the Fluoride Action Network,

Water was the only fluoride source in the studies reviewed and was based on high water fluoride levels. However, they point out research by Ding (2011) suggested that low water fluoride levels had significant negative associations with children’s intelligence.

Choi et al. write, “Although fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in animal models and acute fluoride poisoning causes neurotoxicity in adults, very little is known of its effects on children’s neurodevelopment.” They recommend more brain/fluoride research on children and at individual-level doses.

“It’s senseless to keep subjecting our children to this ongoing fluoridation experiment to satisfy the political agenda of special-interest groups,” says attorney Paul Beeber, NYSCOF President. “Even if fluoridation reduced cavities, is tooth health more important than brain health? It’s time to put politics aside and stop artificial fluoridation everywhere,” says Beeber.

* * *

Choi’s team writes, “Fluoride readily crosses the placenta. Fluoride exposure to the developing brain, which is much more susceptible to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature.”

You can access the study here.

European Phase-Out of Mercury by 2018?

That’s the recommendation of a new European Commission report, and considering that 1/3 of EU member states have already phased out, significantly reduced or strengthened restrictions on amalgam use, it seems the inevitable next step forward.

Interestingly, the recommendation isn’t motivated by the evidence of amalgam’s harm to human health. In fact, the Commission accepts the line that there is “no scientific consensus” about amalgam; thus, their policy is concerned with reduction of mercury in the environment, much of which comes from mercury’s use in dentistry. (Yes, there is lack of “consensus” insofar as the dental establishment dismisses the science showing harm, thereby creating a “controversy.”)

According to Dr. Bicuspid, the report noted that

dental amalgam is one of the main remaining uses of mercury in the EU…. In 2007, dental amalgam was the second largest mercury use in the EU after chlor-alkali production.

Approximately 45 tons of mercury from EU dental practices end up in chairside effluents each year, only a part of which is captured and treated as hazardous waste in compliance with EU legislation, according to BIOS [Bio Intelligence Service, author of the report].

“Estimates developed in this study suggest that dental amalgam is a significant contributor to overall EU environmental emissions of mercury from human activities,” they wrote.

The article also mentions some of the reasons why more countries have yet to ban amalgam, from a lack of patient education to the need for many dentists to get more training in placing composites; from the higher short term cost of composite fillings to some dentists’ belief in the mechanical superiority of of mercury amalgam. And all these are, in fact, legitimate concerns that will need to be addressed. Fortunately, there’s the good model of Norway, which we recently told your about, as well as useful research showing that amalgam is the more expensive material in the long run.

You can read more about the proposed phase-out here.

Images by amadachong & Mrs. Pugliano, via Flickr

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What a Phase-Out of Mercury Amalgam Looks Like

More than 20 years ago, Norway began to actively phase out the use of dental amalgam. In 2008, it banned mercury outright, with limited exemptions for dental use for another two years. Since the end of 2010, mercury-free dentistry has been the norm.

And how has it gone?

That’s the subject of a report commissioned by the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency, issued earlier this year. It reviews “the experiences from the phase-out of the use of dental amalgam as tooth filling material in Norway, and make[s] an assessment of the costs to the society from the actions taken to limit the release of mercury.” And its conclusions?

  1. Use and release of mercury are substantially reduced.
  2. Experiences with the alternatives to dental amalgam are generally positive.
  3. Abatement “end-of-pipe” costs lower than dental amalgam phase-out costs.

That is, they found it does cost more to phase-out mercury than merely to contain emissions. But this, the report urges, is no deal-breaker. Why not? Because the long-term goal is to eliminate mercury pollution. As less amalgam is used and more replaced with nontoxic materials, those “end-pipe” costs will gradually dwindle to zero. The phase-out costs are thus an investment.

You can read the Executive Summary at – and download the entire report from – MercuryExposure.info.

And if you’re not familiar with the site, it’s definitely one worth bookmarking. Its admins are amassing a fine library of mercury and amalgam research done over the years. A sample of references you may find worthwhile:

Happy exploring!

Image by Froskeland, via Flickr

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Health & Illness: More Than “If A and if B, then C”

One of this blog’s most popular posts is an article I originally wrote for my office website, “Why Doesn’t Everyone with Mercury Fillings Get Sick?”. The short answer – which I also discuss in the video “Silver Fillings, Toxic Teeth” – is that how a person fares with amalgams

tells us nothing about the fillings and everything about that individual’s constitution, immune response and ability to excrete toxins. Consider: if you have a healthy, robust immune system, you can be exposed to many pathogens without getting sick. It’s why not everyone gets the flu each year – or gets the same kind. Likewise, a person in good health and with few other risk factors may be able to bear the burden of mercury…for a time. But if they become ill or take up bad habits (e.g., eating junk food, taking drugs, smoking), their body becomes less and less able to rid itself of the mercury. That’s when you begin to see symptoms of Dental Amalgam Syndrome.

And the same can be said for most any kind of dental toxicity issue.

Several weeks ago, a reader expressed fear and concern in comments on an earlier post about root canals:

I am currently pregnant and have had to get 4 root canals during this pregnancy. I now have 6 total, at the age of 30. After doing research, I am now extremely scared and depressed. I would ideally like to have all of my root canals extracted, but am not sure that I can afford ths, after paying for the root canals themselves. Am I now destined for heart disease and/or cancer?

Strictly speaking, no one is destined for any disease. Yes, we may be genetically predisposed to certain illnesses or conditions. We may be at higher or lower risk due to factors such as lifestyle choices (e.g., diet, drug use) or environmental exposures. We may be constitutionally better or worse at eliminating the various toxins we’re exposed to.

Complex, chronic, multifactorial conditions such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and “enigmatic” illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivities arise from a dynamic of forces and factors that we’re still just beginning to really grasp. But we do know that the body is a self-regulating organism whose health and healing can be supported through proper detoxification, nutrition and an active, balanced lifestyle. While living healthy is likewise no guarantee that a person will never get sick – we’ve all heard about people who lived as healthfully as possible yet still died young – it’s the best insurance policy we have.

The conventional view of medicine most of us grow up with is, to be blunt, pretty simplistic: For every illness, there’s a single cause; stopping symptoms is the same thing as curing disease. Our socialization into this model is so strong that even when we begin to understand its limitations and the benefits of a holistic, biological approach to health and well-being, we may still find our thinking stuck in its habitual ways. Here, fear becomes easy. We may assume that because we’re sick and have amalgam fillings and mercury is toxic, our illness must be due to the fillings. (Actually, only thorough, proper testing and evaluation can tell us that.) Or we may worry that the presence of root canal teeth is a one-way ticket to cancer.

Yes, there are strong, demonstrated links between health problems and dental foci – and a research record of more than 100 years – but there are no absolutes. There are too many variables.

Let’s go back to an example I used in passing in the mercury article we started with today: the flu. Why doesn’t everyone exposed to the virus get the flu – and why do some who “protect” themselves via vaccination get sick anyway? Because, as authors of a study published last year in PLoS Genetics put it, “Exposure to influenza viruses is necessary, but not sufficient, for healthy human hosts to develop symptomatic illness.” As MSNBC reported,

“Many people might conclude that if you are exposed to a virus and you don’t get sick, it’s because the virus didn’t stick or it was so weak, it just passed right through your system and your system didn’t notice. That’s not a correct notion,” says Alfred Hero, professor at the University of Michigan College of Engineering and author of the study….

He continues, “There is an active immune response which accounts for the resistance of certain people getting sick, and that response is just as active as the response we all know and hate, which is being sick with the sniffles, fever, coughing and sneezing. It’s just that the responses are different.”

And this is the case with all manner of exposures, whether to pathogenic microbes or other toxins: There’s always a response, but that response varies according to the individual. Is their immune system robust? Are they good excretors of mercury and other heavy metals? Do they practice good health habits to keep the body’s self-regulatory mechanisms in good working order?

This is why it’s so vital to look at each person’s situation and tailor treatment to their unique dynamic of factors – likewise, to always keep the big picture in mind: How does the dental situation fit in with and relate to the other health factors in a person’s life? Healing depends on a holistic, individualized approach.

Image by Lumiago, via Flickr

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Making Sense of Mercury

…with a much needed dose of humor, to boot!

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Should You Be Concerned About Aluminum Oxide in Dental Restorations?

Earlier this week, my colleague Dr. Gary Verigin, ran my article on oil pulling as a guest post on his blog, Know Thy Health. In return, he’s allowed me to share his article:

Is There Really Such a Thing as “Metal-Free Dentistry”?

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

As more people become aware of the health risks of mercury amalgam fillings, you see more dental practices marketing themselves as “metal-free.” Sounds great, no?

It’s also inaccurate – and not just because these dentists often do place metal restorations such as gold crowns. As dental materials expert Jess Clifford has noted, “There is no such creation as a metal-free restorative” – not even tooth-colored restorations. All modern composites, glass ionomers (dental cements), porcelain and ceramics contain some metal. It’s not that “metal-free” dental offices are trying to mislead you. They just seem to be using it as shorthand for “mercury-free dentistry.”

But it’s still inaccurate.

And it makes it very easy to think of just about any non-precious metal as dangerous. Consider, for instance, this excerpt from an article on the website of Dr. Hal Huggins, a pioneer in the fight against dental mercury:

I became curious about the composition of porcelain crowns and called one of the manufacturers. I was told their porcelain was pure ceramic. Thanks. I called another and asked what their ceramic was made out of. Porcelain I was told. I called another and asked what their porcelain ceramic was made out of. Natural products. Knowing that mercury was “natural” I went to scientists other than manufacturers. Natural porcelain ceramic is made from clay B kaolin specifically B which is 45 percent aluminum oxide. Oh! So porcelain crowns are really aluminum. The aluminum does come out of the crown and I have personally seen some tragic cases of poisoning from dental porcelain ceramic aluminum crowns. Obviously not everyone has violent reactions, but when they occur, it is not a happy site [sic].

Scary, no? Makes you want to avoid porcelain all together, doesn’t it? There’s just one problem: aluminum oxide is a benign form of the element. As Clifford explains, while aluminum in its “fully reduced (shiny metal) form…will react with a vast number of chemical constituents,” some of which are highly toxic,

not all forms of aluminum are readily reactive, nor do they have appreciable toxicity concerns. In order to be a toxic problem, aluminum must be ionizable or dissociable or otherwise available to bind chemically with tissue constituents. If the aluminum does not have opportunity to chemically separate and bind, toxic constituents are simply not formed. [emphasis added]

In short, it’s not the metal itself but the kind of metal that matters. According to Clifford, “benign” forms of aluminum include alumina and aluminosilicate, in addition to aluminum oxide.

In such fully oxidized forms, the aluminum is either completely bound, or is part of a chemical matrix in crystalline lattice form, or both. Some common occurrences of these forms of aluminum are quartz, mica, feldspar, opal, glass and basic sand. While it is technically possible to force aluminum to chemically separate from any of these materials, it would require extreme furnace heat or high irradiation energy. These conditions are not commensurate with life and tissue survival.

* * *

Dental products are not the only ones where we find the benign forms of aluminum. The glass jars which contain our foods and beverages on the grocer’s shelf are basically barium-boro-aluminosilicates. Sand on the seashore is a rich mix of aluminum oxide and various aluminosilicates. Glass utensils, dishes and vessels in the kitchen (ie., Pyrex, Kimax, Corningware, Stoneware, Anchor-Hocking) are similar aluminosilicates and aluminum oxides. In our bodies, by nature, the bones are comprised of 2.0% – 2.5% aluminosilicate, aluminum oxide or alumina. If the patient can safely have food or beverage stored in glass, or can safely eat food prepared in a Pyrex pan or bowl, or can safely walk on sand, then it becomes immediately obvious that these forms of aluminum are not a threat to good health. The aluminunosilicate / aluminum oxide content of the bones is supplied and replenished daily from the fruits, grains and vegetables of the diet. The aluminosilicate content of lettuces and other vegetables in a single fresh garden salad serving will easily exceed the total quantity of aluminum released in ionized form from a mouthful of porcelain or ceramic crowns over a period of years. [emphasis added]

He adds that only time when even benign forms of aluminum are contraindicated is when an individual tests sensitive to both aluminum and silicates.

You can read his complete paper – “Should I Be Worried About Aluminum in Fillings and Crowns?” – here.

Where sensitivity or reactivity is a concern, we always recommend testing to be absolutely sure we choose restorative materials that the client will be able to tolerate. This includes both energetic and blood serum compatibility evaluations. Energetic testing is done via EAV and matrix imaging. For blood serum analysis, we rely on the Clifford Materials Reactivity Test, which reports on 94 chemical groups and families in more than 11,000 trade name dental products. For assessing material quality, it’s the method of choice for conscientious holistic and biological practitioners. Energetic testing, on the other hand, gives us insight to the quantitative scenario, as well – how much of any given material may be safely used.

To learn more about the stuff that goes into fillings, crowns and bridges, see Dr. Verigin’s articles on dental restorations.

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The Persistent Defense of Mercury Fillings

It’s kind of a weird passage to find on a site that promises to “improve your world” by covering “the broadest scope of environmental and social responsibility issues on the internet.” (Then again, the corporate-sponsored site – Mother Nature Network – gets funding from the likes of environmental polluter Georgia-Pacific, so maybe some cognitive dissonance is to be expected.)

From “6 Signs You Need a New Dentist,” originally published in Woman’s Day:

If your dentist recommends that you replace all of your silver fillings with tooth-colored versions, you may want to get a second opinion. While there are some theories that the mercury content in silver fillings can be harmful to your health, none of them has been proven to be true, says Dr. Gross. According to Shelley Seidel, DDS, MD, who practices at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of Houston and is the director of the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness, as long as you don’t have cavities below your fillings — which can be detected by examination or x-ray — or the fillings aren’t broken or fractured, there is no need to replace them. “If your dentist wants to take them out simply because silver fillings are passé, you’re asking for trouble because you don’t know how your teeth will react,” explains Dr. Gross. “They may react in an unfavorable way, becoming more sensitive or in need of a root canal or crown.” (emphasis added)

Amalgam being “passé” is hardly the issue.

As regular readers know, “silver” describes only the color of these fillings, which mostly consist of mercury, a potent neurotoxin. Though more and more dentists have quit using mercury amalgam, US dentists alone place about 70 million of these fillings every year, using 34 tons of mercury. But not all that mercury goes into patients’ mouths. Tons of it are released into the water system each year, as well. As Dr. Bicuspid has reported,

Approximately 50% of mercury entering local waste treatment plants comes from dental amalgam waste – about 3.7 tons of mercury annually, according to the EPA. Once deposited, certain microorganisms can change elemental mercury into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish, and animals that eat fish. Fish and shellfish are the main sources of methylmercury exposure to humans, and the EPA is concerned that methylmercury can damage children’s developing brains and nervous systems even before they are born.

And it doesn’t even take that much mercury to cause contamination: As little as one teaspoonful (PDF) can render a 22 acre lake toxic.

Yet it’s considered okay to put mercury in a person’s mouth, mere inches from the brain?

Contrary to Dr. Gross’s claim, there is a substantial scientific record of amalgam’s power to harm human health. (For a sample, see this and this and this.) There has also been work along the lines of a study published just this month in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation which demonstrated long-lasting reduction of health complaints after mercury removal.

That said, no conscientious dentist would make a the kind of generalizing statement like the one used in the MNN/Woman’s Day article: “You need to replace all of your silver fillings with white ones.” You can’t just assume that if a person has amalgams, they must be removed. Our bodies have excretory mechanisms to remove any toxins that enter. Some people have healthier, more robust systems than others. Some carry a heavier toxic load due to multiple and/or ongoing exposures, not just mercury.

You have to ask, Is the person experiencing symptoms? Are amalgams the primary cause?

Always, you need to look at each individual’s health situation and do the appropriate exams and evaluations to determine the presence and impact of any oral obstacles to systemic health. If you find any – mercury fillings or otherwise (e.g., infected root canal teeth or cavitations) – you then map out a systematic, patient-specific plan for treatment and healing. And if amalgam removal is involved, it must be done safely (PDF). You also need to be sure that the new restorations are biocompatible, which is determined beforehand through blood serum analysis and other tests.

So, yes: The caution against rushing into amalgam removal (or any other treatment) is sound. You just don’t need to justify it by insisting against evidence that amalgam is risk-free.

Note: There’ll be no post next week, due to the Veteran’s Day holiday.

Mouth image by brillenschlange, via Flickr

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US Calls for a “Phase-out” of Dental Amalgam in World Mercury Treaty Negotiations

This week, we got another email from Charlie Brown, National Counsel of Consumers for Dental Choice and President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, delivering some excellent news: the US Mercury Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee has called for the phase-out of dental amalgam.

The Committee is part of an international effort to prepare a global legally binding treaty on mercury.

Charlie explains what happened and what it means:

The United States government has announced that it supports a “phase down, with the goal of eventual phase out by all Parties, of mercury amalgam.” This statement – a radical reversal of its former position that “any change toward the use of dental amalgam is likely to result in positive public health outcomes” – is part of the U.S. government’s submission for the upcoming third round of negotiations for the world mercury treaty.

While couched in diplomatic hedging – remember it is still early in the negotiations – this new U.S. position makes three significant breakthroughs for the mercury-free dentistry movement:

  1. The U.S. calls for the phase-out of amalgam ultimately and recommends actions to “phase down” its use immediately….
  2. The U.S. speaks up for protecting children and the unborn from amalgam, recommending that the nations “educat[e] patients and parents in order to protect children and fetuses.”
  3. The U.S. stands up for the human right of every patient and parent to make educated decisions about amalgam.

What does this mean? Our position – advocating the phase-out of amalgam – is now the mainstream because the U.S. government supports it. Who is the outlier now? It’s the pro-mercury faction, represented by the World Dental Federation and the American Dental Association….

We applaud the U.S. government. But tough work lies ahead. For example, we must demonstrate to the world that the available alternatives – such as composites and the adhesive materials used in atraumatic restorative treatment (“ART”) – can cost less than amalgam and will increase access to dental care particularly in developing countries.

For now though, let’s mark this watershed in the mercury-free dentistry movement: the debate has shifted from “whether to end amalgam” to “how to end amalgam.”

You can read and download the full text of the US statement here (PDF).

The next session of negotiations is tentatively scheduled for October 31 – November 4 of this year.

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