Fighting for a Mercury-Free Future
When a country signs a treaty, you’d think there would be some follow-through on the responsibilities it’s agreed to. Or so it would go if we lived in Logic Land.
In reality, it’s been about three years now since the US signed and ratified the global mercury treaty known as the Minamata Convention. In fact, it was the first of 128 countries to do so. Among its provisions is a required “phase-down” of mercury’s use in dentistry, where it’s the main component of so-called “silver” amalgam fillings.
But talk is talk. Words are words. As for action?
So it remains the work of organizations and activists to move the government to do the right thing.
Most recently, Consumers for Dental Choice petitioned the FDA to require patient labeling of dental amalgam. According to the petition – and you can read the full text here – simply doing this would be an important step toward bringing the US into compliance with the Minamata Convention.
FDA concedes that giving patients labeling with “direct information that would include the presence of mercury in amalgam” would result in “an expected reduction in mercury exposure” 9 (i.e., a phase down in amalgam use). Yet FDA refuses to take this effective amalgam phase-down measure.
This petition comes on the heels of an earlier action by dozens of nonprofit organizations, urging the US State Department to make the FDA act on amalgam to bring the US into compliance with the treaty.
There’s been no word yet on either request. However, if you want to make your voice heard and your views known, there’s still an active petition to Secretary of State Kerry to act on this issue so crucial to individual, public, and environmental health. Take a moment to sign and share it. Or even better, contact the Secretary’s office – and your own elected representatives – directly.
When you think about it, it’s really strange that mercury continues to be used so much in dentistry. As the authors of the IAOMT’s latest position statement on amalgam put it,
Many other mercurial medical devices and mercury-containing substances have been removed from use, including mercurial wound disinfectants, mercurial diuretics, mercury thermometers, and mercurial veterinary substances. In this era when the public is advised to be concerned about mercury exposure through fish consumption, dental mercury amalgam fillings should also be eliminated, especially because they are the predominant source of non-industrial mercury exposure in the general population.
All we can say to that is, “Amen!”
To help even more in the fight for a mercury-free future, connect with Consumers for Dental Choice and the Mercury Policy Project.