For the first time, the European Commission’s scientific committee on health is recommending the use of mercury-free dental fillings instead of amalgam for children’s baby teeth and in pregnant patients.
In its final opinion on amalgam, the European Union government’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) concluded that “it can be recommended that for the first treatment of primary teeth in children and for pregnant patients, alternative materials to amalgam should be the first choice.”Additionally, “use of amalgam restorations is not indicated in primary teeth, in patients with mercury allergies, and persons with chronic kidney diseases with decreased renal clearance.”
We’ve come a long way since 2008, when this same EU scientific committee had promoted amalgam as safe for all. How did so much change in seven years? Here are a few factors:
- SCENIHR specifically cites the Minamata Convention as a rationale, explaining that its new position will “reduce the use of mercury-added products in line with the intentions of the Minamata Convention.”]
- European organizations, experts, and Consumers for Dental Choice devoted countless hours to submitting studies, delivering comments, and following up to make sure that this opinion addressed vulnerable populations.
- This step forward came right on the heels of last month’s announcement that the people of Europe overwhelmingly voted to phase out amalgam use in the European Union in response to a public consultation.
This new scientific consensus clearly has the potential to protect millions of children, unborn babies, pregnant women, and people with kidney disorders from dental mercury exposure. But as we know from experience in countries like Sweden that have ended amalgam use, it is also an important step toward eliminating amalgam use entirely.
And the pro-mercury dental associations know it. Already, the American Dental Association (ADA) is trying to bury the SCENIHR recommendations. In fact, the ADA told its dentist members that SCENIHR simply said amalgam use is effective for the general population... while slyly omitting that SCENIHR advised against amalgam use in children's baby teeth and in pregnant women.
Here at Consumers for Dental Choice, we’re not letting the ADA rewrite history. Our international team is already reaching out to governments worldwide to tell them about the progress in Europe – and urge them to protect their people from dental mercury too!