WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The European Union (E.U.), with 28 member nations and 500 million people, will prohibit the use of dental amalgam in children under 16 and in pregnant and breastfeeding women effective July 1, 2018. The biggest controversy in dentistry, dental amalgam (called, inaccurately, "silver" fillings) is 50% mercury and a major global pollutant.
"The children of Europe have won," said Charlie Brown, executive director of Consumers for Dental Choice, www.mercury-free.org, and president of the World Alliance of Mercury-Free Dentistry, www.mercuryfreedentistry.net. "The next generation of European will be safe from mercury dental fillings."
This landmark agreement was reached at a summit of the three E.U. institutions (Parliament, Commission, and Council) on December 6 and 7. Its other provisions include a mandate for every member nation to submit its plan on how it will reduce amalgam use generally, and a promise to examine the issue of a full phaseout in 2020. The agreement was a compromise between those asking for a full ban and urging mere cosmetic steps.
"Amalgam is a primitive polluting device. It is technically inferior to today's modern alternatives," said British dentist Graeme Munro-Hall, chair of the Transition and Training task force for the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry. "Dentistry's amalgam era is over, a fact embraced enthusiastically by thousands of European dentists and accepted by the others."
Elena Lymberidi-Settimo of the European Environment Bureau said: "With this agreement Europe takes an important step towards returning to world leadership in implementing the Minamata Convention. These steps towards a phase out of dental amalgam will now resonate across the world."
Philippe Vandendaele of Health Care Without Harm Europe said: "We welcome this agreement with mixed feelings. Such a decision should not only lead to a reduction of mercury in the EU, but it is also an open acknowledgment that mercury fillings should not have a place in our society. We regret that the measures for a full phase out of dental amalgam proposed by Stefan Eck (Rapporteur), did not survive the trilogue discussion. It is a missed opportunity to actually reduce the largest presence of mercury in the EU at its very source: dental amalgam."
Genon Jensen of Health and Environmental Alliance said: "This partial ban on dental amalgams is excellent news, especially for children's health. It will not only help protect the health of mothers and children but also contribute to reducing everyone's environmental exposure to mercury. Several Member States either disallow amalgam use or have already reduced it to less than 10% of all dental fillings. We hope each Member States will now take seriously its duty to reduce amalgam use for everyone."
Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans, especially to pregnant women and the developing nervous system. Amalgam consists of 50% mercury, which under certain conditions can transform to neurotoxic methylmercury. Dental mercury is the largest use of mercury in both the E.U. and the United States.
For further information: Charlie Brown ofc. 202.544.6333, cell 202.246.7642, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Consumers for Dental Choice