62 NGOs from 40 countries urge Dentsply: Stop toxic trade in dental amalgam

Sep 24, 2013, 06:00 ET from The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With a treaty on mercury to be signed next month, concern is growing that toxic mercury fillings will be dumped into Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. In a letter to U.S. manufacturer Dentsply, 62 health, social justice, and environmental groups from 40 nations and six continents ask its president, Bret Wise, to cease selling dental amalgam into developing nations.  

The letter, http://www.toxicteeth.org/letter-with-62-ngos-40-nations.aspx, (French http://www.toxicteeth.org/francais-lettre-a-dentsply.aspx;  Spanish  http://www.toxicteeth.org/espanol-letter-to-dentsply.aspx) is organized by the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, www.toxicteeth.org

The new Minamata Convention on Mercury,   http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/MercuryNot/MercuryNegotiations/tabid/3320/language/en-US/Default.aspx, will be signed in Minamata, Japan, on October 10.

"Developing nations have fewer resources to address the harm caused by dental mercury pollution," says Dominique Bally of the Côte d'Ivoire NGO Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement. http://jve-international.org/; http://www.jveci.org. "Thus we ask Dentsply to stop dumping toxic mercury fillings into the unsuspecting mouths of the children of Africa, Asia, and Latin America."

Dr. Shahriar Hossain, of the Bangladesh NGO Environment and Social Develop Organization, http://www.esdo.org, notes, "It is not uncommon for manufacturers of toxic or unsafe products to shift their sales to low-income nations after the product is limited by authorities in wealthier nations.  We are determined that this not occur with mercury fillings." 

"The international issue is toxic trade," says Michael Bender of the U.S. NGO Mercury Policy Project, www.mercurypolicy.org. "Dentsply needs to shift its resources from dealing this product into international markets and shift to non-toxic dental fillings.

Headquartered in York, Pennsylvania, Dentsply faces intense opposition for its amalgam sales from a local citizens' group, South-Central Pennsylvanians for Mercury-Free Dentistry.

"Rather than being a good corporate citizen, Dentsply is stonewalling entreaties from the local citizens' group," says Charlie Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice and president of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Mercury. "Rather than expanding sales of non-polluting materials, Dentsply seems bent on continuing its toxic trade into developing nations."

The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, created in 2010, led the successful campaign at the treaty negotiations to include amalgam in the Minamata Convention. It is a coalition of NGOs from six continents, with ten regional vice presidents. The World Alliance has an on-line petition to Dentsply, www.change.org/petitions/dentsply-stop-making-mercury-dental-fillings, which gathered over 8,000 names.

For further information: Charlie Brown, USA, charlie@toxicteeth.org / 1-202 544 6333

SOURCE The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry