Mercury treaty requires countries to phase down dental amalgam!

Dear Friends,

They said we couldn’t get dental amalgam into an environmental treaty…but we did. 
While our
opponents argued that amalgam was a health issue like vaccines that
should be exempted from the mercury treaty, we showed that amalgam is a
serious environmental problem.  By the fifth and final treaty
negotiating session (which just concluded), amalgam was being compared
to the notorious pesticide DDT.  No one doubted that this major source
of mercury pollution from products belonged in an environmental treaty. 
Now, the mercury treaty is done – and amalgam is in it!  We did it!

They said we couldn’t get support for even the phase down of amalgam use…but we did.
While our
opponents argued that amalgam can be handled safely unlike other
sources of mercury, we showed that the only way to address amalgam is to
phase down its use.  The final treaty language calls for nations to
take measures “to phase down the use of dental amalgam.”  And
because we pushed to get amalgam into Annex C of the treaty, this
language can be amended later to set a phase-out date.

They said we couldn’t make the phase down mandatory…but we did.
While our
opponents argued that all regulation of amalgam use should be
voluntary, we showed that mandatory phase down steps were needed in
order to make progress.  The treaty mandates that nations “shall” take
two or more of the listed phase-down measures.  These phase-down
measures include setting national objectives aiming at minimizing dental
amalgam use, promoting mercury-free filling materials, and discouraging
insurance policies and programs that favor dental amalgam over
mercury-free dental restorations. Other measures are targeted at
reducing global dental mercury pollution, including restricting amalgam
use to its encapsulated form, promoting best environmental practices in
dental facilities, and encouraging dental schools to train dentists to
use mercury-free alternatives and best management practices.  (See below
for the full treaty language on amalgam.)

And here is the interesting part: Amalgam is the only mercury-added product with a road map for how
to phase down its use, providing nations with specific guidance on what
measures can be taken to transition to mercury-free alternatives. 
That’s how seriously the nations are taking this issue.

the treaty language ideal?  No.  Nonetheless, the treaty language gives
us a framework for moving forward toward mercury-free dentistry

team is ready to move forward!  Three years ago, Consumers for Dental
Choice helped found the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry as the
umbrella coalition uniting non-governmental organizations dedicated to
phasing out amalgam.  For three years, the World Alliance for
Mercury-Free Dentistry has grown steadily as our talented team of
non-governmental organization leaders and doctors worked in every region
of the world to make this treaty a turning point for our movement. 
Three years of countless meetings with government officials around the
world…letters to governments…detailed memoranda on effective phase
down steps…strategy sessions…regional meetings…economic studies…
workshops for stakeholders…consultations with experts…late night
international telephone conferences…scientific literature
searches…research summaries…outreaches to other non-governmental
organizations…submissions for delegates…and coalition-building.  We
entered the final mercury treaty negotiating session in Geneva with more
support than ever.  Then our team on the ground worked day and
night (literally, the meetings went until past 3 AM some mornings) to
ensure that the treaty included requirements for amalgam.

to the hard work of our diplomatic team from 12 nations on the ground
in Geneva, our politically-savvy leaders in over 25 nations from every
region, our insightful friends from the broader non-governmental
organization community, and our generous contributors from around the
world, we succeeded in making more progress toward mercury-free
dentistry than ever before.  It has been an honor to have your support! 

treaty work is not over.  A treaty is only as good as its
implementation.  Consumers for Dental Choice, teamed with the World
Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, is gearing up to carry out the
necessary follow-up work to ensure that amalgam is effectively phased
down as required by the treaty.  It is going to be a battle.  Already,
our opponents are trying to tell the public that this treaty is
about preventing dental disease – not phasing down amalgam use with
proven phase-down steps (like discouraging insurance policies that favor

our experienced international team succeeded at the mercury treaty
negotiations…and we’ll do it again to ratify and implement the language
of the treaty – effectively.  This is the beginning of the end for
dental mercury!
24 January 2013

Here is the full treaty language on dental amalgam: “Measures to be
taken by a Party to phase down the use of dental amalgam shall take into
account the Party’s domestic circumstances and relevant international
guidance and shall include two or more of the measures from the
following list: (i) Setting national objectives aiming at dental caries
prevention and health promotion, thereby minimising the need for dental
restoration; (ii) Setting national objectives aiming at minimising its
use; (iii) Promoting the use of cost-effective and clinically effective
mercury-free alternatives for dental restoration; (iv) Promoting
research and development of quality mercury-free materials for dental
restoration; (v) Encouraging representative professional organisations
and dental schools to educate and train dental professionals and
students on the use of mercury-free dental restoration alternatives and
on promoting best management practices; (vi) Discouraging insurance
policies, and programmes that favour dental amalgam use over
mercury-free dental restoration; (vii) Encouraging insurance policies
and programmes that favour the use of quality alternatives to dental
amalgam for dental restoration; (viii) Restricting the use of dental
amalgam to its encapsulated form; (ix) Promoting the use of best
environmental practices in dental facilities to reduce releases of
mercury and mercury compounds to water and land.”

Charles G. Brown
National Counsel, Consumers for Dental Choice
President, World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry
316 F St. NE, Suite 210, Washington, DC 20002 USA
Phone: 202-544-6333     Fax: 202-544-6331

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