In a statement delivered on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at the First meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the Minamata Convention on Mercury holding in Geneva, Switzerland, Charlie Brown, President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, salutes Nigeria, the EU and other nations across the world for their pioneering work to end the use of mercury in the practice of medicine and dentistry
Today we convene the historic Minamata Convention, where we shall make mercury history.
Yes. And we shall make dental amalgam history.
The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry salutes the European Union, which has phased out amalgam for children, and phased out amalgam for pregnant women and for breastfeeding women.
The World Alliance salutes the work of the Africa region and of the African governments in the march toward mercury-free dentistry. The Abuja Declaration for Mercury-Free Dentistry for Africa sets the pace. The government of Mauritius ended amalgam use for children. Dental schools from Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria across to Tanzania and Kenya have made major curriculum shifts to educate this generation of dentists.
Dental mercury is a major source of black-market mercury in illegal gold mining. If we end dental amalgam, we have a two-fold gain.
The World Alliance salutes the nations across Asia for their pioneering work for mercury-free dentistry. The Dental Council of India ended the amalgam proficiency requirement, freeing up dental schools to be entirely mercury-free. In China, a multi-stakeholder conference was held involving the government of China and civil societies for the road map for mercury-free dentistry. Similar national stakeholder conferences were held in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam. The Dhaka Declaration for Mercury-Free Dentistry for Asia shows the commitment of civil society to move to this goal.
The phase-out of amalgam for children is the key phasedown step:
- Milk teeth are less complex, longevity is not a factor, and there’s the obvious rule of precaution when implanting a gram of mercury centimeters from a child’s developing brain.
- It means the emergence of atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) – even in the villages that lack electricity. As the WHO report Future Use of Materials for Dental Restoration says: “Alternative restorative materials of sufficient quality are available for use” for the milk teeth.
- When you return to your home nations, please do as the European Union as done: phase out amalgam for children now. For one simple reason: The children of your nation are equally important to the children of Europe.