Silver Amalgam Use Now the Focus of a United Nations Treaty

Silver Amalgam Use Now the Focus of a United Nations TreatyFoxNews.com is reporting that a United Nations global mercury treaty on mercury pollution may become reality and America’s dentists could be subjected to an international ban on filling cavities with “silver amalgam” containing mercury.

The next round of “mercury talks” is scheduled for Monday in Kenya and State Department officials reportedly said they hope to garner support for a legally-binding treaty to reduce worldwide mercury emissions.

Dr. David Simone, a dental surgeon from Northbrook, Ill., who attended the State Department meeting, told FoxNews.com that State Department officials reiterated that amalgam fillings will likely remain on the U.N.’s designated list of products to eventually be phased down with passage of the so-called global mercury treaty.

There is a controversial ongoing argument among dental health professionals about the possible health risks associated with mercury exposure from amalgam fillings, and competing sides disagree on whether the amount of mercury in fillings causes risks.

The ADA supports the position that dental amalgam is safe and posts the following statement on its website –

Dental amalgam is considered a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.

The FDI World Dental Federation and the World Health Organization concluded in a 1997 consensus statement: “No controlled studies have been published demonstrating systemic adverse effects from amalgam restorations.” Another conclusion of the report stated that, aside from rare instances of local side effects of allergic reactions, “the small amount of mercury released from amalgam restorations, especially during placement and removal, has not been shown to cause any … adverse health effects.”

In 1998 the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs published its first major review of the scientific literature on dental amalgam which concluded that “based on available scientific information, amalgam continues to be a safe and effective restorative material.” The Council’s report also stated, “There currently appears to be no justification for discontinuing the use of dental amalgam.”

In an article published in the February 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, researchers report finding “no significant association of Alzheimer’s Disease with the number, surface area or history of having dental amalgam restorations” and “no statistically significant differences in brain mercury levels between subjects with Alzheimer’s Disease and control subjects.”

A 2003 paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine states, “Patients who have questions about the potential relation between mercury and degenerative diseases can be assured that the available evidence shows no connection.” [Read more …]

Robert Ferguson, founder and president of the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), told Foxnews.com that he sees the controversy surrounding dental amalgam as little more than the latest scare to drive more regulation.

What are your thoughts on the use of silver amalgam in dental treatments?

For more on this story see U.S. Weighs Support for U.N. Treaty That Could Force Dentists to Change Materials Used in Fillings.

Watch for more on this subject in the November issue of Academy of General Dentistry in a feature article by Eric K. Curtis, DDS, MA, MAGD titled, Black and White with Shades of Gray Ruminations on Amalgams in a World of Composites.

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