Mercury emissions into the environment, and their concomitant ability to produce disease in humans, have been at the forefront of recent efforts to eliminate the use of dental amalgam as a restorative material. Such a total ban on use is imprudent as the populace of many economically poorer countries simply can’t afford newer materials and technologies.
The Minamata Convention, a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) backed treaty on mercury, was signed in 2013 by over 130 countries including the United States. This initiative aims to decrease environmental contamination from mercury and mercury-bearing wastes. It does not ban the use of dental amalgam, but clearly sets forth guidelines for the proper handling, storage and recycling of said wastes by all dental practices who either place or remove dental amalgam. As a vast majority of practices remove older amalgam restorations or teeth containing amalgam, and many others still utilize amalgam as a restorative material, the stipulations and requirements of the treaty which govern amalgam waste recycling would apply to most dental practices in the U.S. today.
Read more at: Minamata Convention on Mercury
These new measures were applauded by the Fédéracion Dentaire Internationale (FDI) World Dental Federation, which, according to its President Dr. Orlando Monteiro da Silva, “supports a phased down approach based on prevention…and the use of best management practices“. Such best management practices have already been adopted by the ADA and will be incorporated into upcoming EPA mandates on amalgam recycling.
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For more information or questions on dental environmental compliance email David Picone at firstname.lastname@example.org