U.S. Calls For ‘Phase Down’ of Dental Mercury
News provided by Mercury Policy Project
Published: 21 April 2011
An amalgam of consumer groups today applauded a move by the U.S. government to support the ‘phase down’ of dental mercury tooth fillings.
In a significant strengthening of a previous Food & Drug Administration position, the new U.S. position was submitted to the “Mercury International Negotiation Committee.” It calls for a “phase down, with the goal of eventual phase out by all Parties, of mercury amalgam.” (1)
In 2009, with U.S. leadership, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environmental Program, agreed to develop a global legally binding treaty on mercury (2). The goal is to complete negotiations before the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in 2013.
The State Department submission, for the upcoming third round of negotiations, also called for:
- “educating patients and parents (about amalgam) in order to protect children and fetuses,” and
- “training of dental professionals on the environmental impacts of mercury in dental amalgams.”
Consumer groups applauded the USG position.
“Globally, the U.S. continues to demonstrate leadership on mercury with its support for an amalgam phase down,” said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project. “This is consistent with the direction several nations have taken to phase out amalgam.”
“The U.S. position marks the beginning of the end of amalgam globally,” said Charlie Brown, national counsel of Consumers for Dental Choice. “Through its leadership, the U.S. chooses children’s health, patients’ rights, and the environment over amalgam industry profits.”
“The puzzling outlier,” Brown says, “is FDA, which still allows amalgam to be placed in pregnant women and small children – even though its own scientific advisory panel advised against it last December (3). Instead, FDA aids and abets the ‘silver fillings’ deception by not even educating parents and patients that these fillings are half (50%) mercury, a neurotoxin. FDA’s silence is deafening.”
Bender also urged the State Department to resist calls for FDA to assume a leading role on amalgam in the negotiations (4).
“Clearly, EPA—and not FDA—has the expertise to guide the State Department on reducing global mercury releases,” Bender said. “Recently, EPA proposed effluent guidelines to regulate dental mercury releases.” (5)