Dental amalgams, known to many of us by the deceptive term “silver fillings,” are 43 to 54% mercury. The mercury from amalgam causes far-reaching problems…
Like the United States, the European Union (EU) signed the new mercury treaty, the Minamata Convention on Mercury. But unlike the United States, the EU government asked the general public to comment on how to fulfill the EU’s treaty obligations. The European Commission launched an online public consultation that asked EU citizens: Should we phase down amalgam use…or should we phase out amalgam use?
Now the votes have been counted! And the people of the European Union voted to….
phase OUT amalgam use!
This was no close vote. In fact, 88% of respondents voted to phase out amalgam. (That’s 3162 out of 3586 voters, which is a lot of participation for a public consultation in the EU!)
Congratulations to all our European friends who voted and to everyone around the world who helped get out the vote!
Over the past four years, Consumers for Dental Choice has worked closely with our European allies to put in place the building blocks that led to this vote:
- The scientific backing: The EU governments’ scientific committees agree that amalgam in the environment can pose a risk while mercury-free fillings are safe.
- The policy edge: The European Commission hired an independent consultant to examine all the policy options for dealing with amalgam. After an intense study, a round of public hearings, and substantial public input, that independent consultant urged the EU to “ban the use of mercury in dentistry.”
- The public support: The consultant, the governments, and the scientists had their turn. Then the matter was put before the citizenry… and Europeans overwhelmingly want to phase out amalgam use!
We’ve still got a lot of hard work ahead in the EU to make sure that the government responds to the voice of the people. But all options other than phasing out amalgam are slowly exiting the stage.
As the EU moves forward toward mercury-free dentistry, the United States government is no doubt taking note… and seeing itself fall behind. If the United States intends to regain the lead on mercury issues, now is the time to act.
Charles G. Brown
National Counsel, Consumers for Dental Choice
President, World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry
316 F St. NE, Suite 210 Washington, DC 20002 USA
Phone: 202-544-6333 Fax: 202-544-6331