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The far-reaching hazards of dental mercury

Silver-colored amalgam dental fillings are made of about 50 percent mercury – one of the most toxic substances on earth. About 300 TONS of the toxin is put into the market every year as dental amalgam, and it never goes away. Each mercury filling placed in a patient’s mouth ends up polluting the environment eventually. Along the way, it wreaks havoc with the human biosystem.

Amalgam is the greatest source of mercury in our wastewater, finding its way there from dental clinic disposal and human waste. Mercury vapor infiltrates the air via cremation, emissions from dental facilities, incineration of sludge, and human respiration. Mercury enters the very soil that sustains human life through landfill waste, contaminated fertilizer, and burial.

Once elemental mercury is in the environment, it converts to methylmercury, the primary source of seafood contamination. The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States cites brain damage and neurological problems among the dangers of mercury exposure, especially for fetuses and children. Transitioning to non-mercury dental alternatives is vital to eliminating these threats.

Consumers for Dental Choice is a multi-national organization devoted to phasing out amalgam and eventually eliminating its risks to health and environment. Since 2009 they’ve been working proactively with the United National Environmental Programme toward this goal.

Opposition during treaty negotiations has been formidable. Mercury-free dentistry advocates from around the world came together in support of the health of patients, dental works, and the earth. However, they were met by pro-mercury lobbyists, including the World Dental Federation (FDI) and its candy manufacturer corporate partners.

Stamping out freedom in selecting dental methods is NOT the goal of Consumers for Dental Choice. Their objective is to bring scientific minds together to find a solution to the global problem of dental mercury. Their suggested phase-out strategy incorporates:

  • Governmental reforms for insurance and funded medical programs.
  • Patient and parent education.
  • Protection for children and unborn babies.
  • Training for dental professionals on the environmental impact of amalgam and alternative techniques.

The issue remains fluid until the next treaty negotiation session in Nairobi.

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