The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry has filed a petition urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce the use of amalgam – a dental filling that is 50% mercury – in order to conform with the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Other petitioners include the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, Asian Center for Environmental Health, African Center for Environmental Health, and Mercury Policy Project.
The Minamata Convention requires parties to “phase down the use of dental amalgam.” The nations deemed this measure necessary to protect the environment and human health. The U.S. government signed and accepted the Minamata Convention on November 6, 2013.
But, contrary to the Convention, the FDA dental amalgam rule insists that “any change towards use of dental amalgam is likely to result in positive public health outcomes.” It claims “any change away from use of dental amalgam is likely to result in negative public health outcomes.”
“The U.S. led the negotiations for the Minamata Convention on Mercury – from jumpstarting negotiations to supporting robust terms to ratifying the Convention first,” says World Alliance president Charles G. Brown, “But to maintain the leadership role of the United States on mercury issues, FDA must revoke and replace its mercury amalgam rule.”
Numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from around the globe are pointing out the discrepancy between the U.S.’s obligation to phase down amalgam use and FDA’s policy supporting the phase up of amalgam use. Most recently, sixty environmental organizations wrote the State Department, urging Secretary Kerry to bring FDA into compliance with the Minamata Convention’s amalgam phase down requirement.
“Other nations look to the amalgam issue as a litmus test,” says Dominique Bally, Vice President for Africa. “Does the U.S. government view the Minamata Convention as merely a soapbox to lecture other nations about their mercury uses…or as a serious commitment to phase down dental amalgam, its own leading intentional mercury use?”
The World Alliance is an umbrella coalition of consumer organisations, dental associations, and environmental groups working together to phase out the dental industry’s mercury use. The World Alliance has a network of more than 50 NGOs, 10 regional vice presidents, and other leaders including dentists, scientists, environmentalists, engineers, physicians, economists, journalists, patients’ rights advocates, and attorneys.