Major environmental groups urge U.S. State Department to press FDA on amalgam

Environmentalist Micheal Bender

Sixty environmental groups from the United States and around the world sent a letter urging Secretary of State John Kerry to bring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into line with the U.S.’s commitment to reduce dental amalgam use.

As the groups explain, the 2009 FDA dental amalgam rule claims “any change away from use of dental amalgam is likely to result in negative public health outcomes.”  This rule not only impedes mercury reduction… it is contrary to the U.S.’s position during negotiations for the Minamata Convention on Mercury:

“The United States supports further consideration of dental amalgam by the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee such that the agreement is able to achieve the phase down, with the goal of eventual phase out by all Parties, of mercury amalgam…” This U.S. Government position is reflected in the final text of the Minamata Convention, which requires nations to “phase down the use of dental amalgam.”

FDA’s policy of opposing “any change away” from amalgam use is clearly at odds with the U.S. government’s pledge to “phase down” amalgam use.

Mercury Policy Project director Michael Bender, who spearheaded the letter, explains that “Unless FDA’s policies toward amalgam phase down are changed, it may undermine mercury reduction efforts in the U.S. It also could send the wrong message to other Parties to the Minamata Convention.”

The environmental groups’ letter to the State Department is already generating widespread news coverage, with articles from California to Florida.

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