ADA to share support for phasedown of dental amalgam during Minamata Convention on Mercury event

The American Dental Association will share its support for a phasedown approach to dental amalgam use during a meeting March 11 related to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global environmental agreement that aims to limit mercury emissions.

The fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury began with a virtual session in November 2021, and its second segment will take place March 21-25 both virtually and in person in Bali, Indonesia. Ahead of the meeting, a series of side events will allow the parties to the convention and other stakeholders to exchange information on technical matters, policy development, convention implementation and other topics.

The convention, which the U.S. joined in 2013, calls for a phasedown of dental amalgam through increased prevention efforts, research into viable alternatives and increased use of other restorative materials.

During their side event, the ADA, FDI World Dental Federation, International Association for Dental Research, and American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research will address accelerating the phasedown of dental amalgam, including the progress that has been made, research advancements into alternatives to dental amalgam, the importance of action and investment into prevention and research, and the infrastructure needed for proper waste management.

"Our goal with this side event is to state our case to continue moving forward with the phasedown approach to amalgam use, as research continues to support the safety and efficacy of amalgam as a restorative option. With regard to the environmental concerns of amalgam waste, we strongly support the use of amalgam separators and responsible recycling of discarded materials," said ADA Chief of Governance and Strategy Management Betsy Shapiro, D.D.S., J.D., who is representing the Association virtually at the side event.

At the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, some parties proposed phasing out dental amalgam as opposed to phasing it down. In response, the conference encouraged parties to take additional measures to phase down dental amalgam and directed its secretariat to collect information on any additional measures taken, as well as alternatives to dental amalgam.

The U.S. was among the parties to submit information on implementing additional measures, including setting national objectives aimed at dental caries prevention to minimize the need for dental restoration, promoting the development of alternative materials for dental restoration, encouraging professional organizations and dental schools to educate and train dental professionals and students on the use of dental restoration alternatives, and promoting the use of best environmental practices in dental facilities to reduce the release of mercury and mercury compounds into water and land.

To view the side event, Accelerating the Phasedown of Dental Amalgam, live at 10 a.m. CST March 11 or a recorded version, visit the event registration page or YouTube .

The ADA offers additional information on amalgam on its Oral Health Topics page.

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