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NGOs Urge the Asian Nation to Phase Out Dental Amalgam by 2020


    23 June 2016, a joint deceleration has released by Asian center for Environmental Health; this is the outcome of Asian NGO Summit which was held in United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok on 30 May, 2016. All-China Environment Federation, as an environmental NGO from China supported the Declaration to urge Asian Nations to phase out dental amalgam by 2020.

    Asian NGOs urged the government/countries to declare that the women and children of Asia and all the people of Asia have a basic human right to mercury-free dental care and a mercury-free environment- which is an integral part of the global action needed to implement the Minamata Convention of mercury.

    The summit was jointly organized by The World Alliance for Mercury-free Dentistry and Asian Center for Environmental Health, in association with Environment & Social Development Organisation-ESDO Bangladesh.

    In a press statement President of the World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry, Mr. Charles G. Brown said, ‘The summit has created an opportunity for the NGOs to set a national action plan to phase down to phase out mercury dental amalgam within a time frame’. He also hoped that Asian Government and the dentists would come forward for phasing down dental amalgam use.

    Mercury dental amalgam or ‘Silver filling’ is a silver-colored material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay.It is made of 50% mercury, 35% silver and 13% tin, approx. 2% copper and <0.1% zinc and other trace metals. This amalgam, in widespread use for over 150 years, is one of the oldest materials used in oral health care.

    Alarmingly, mercury is also one of the ten chemicals of major public health concern that WHO prioritizes. Also UNEP Global assessment on mercury reports assesses mercury as toxic to humans, wildlife and environment.

    The Bangkok deceleration pointed that, the Asia, the most populated continent fully intends to address the environmental health damaged inflicted daily by the use of dental amalgam, a primitive product from the 19thcentury. The Asian NGO leaders urged the governments and dentists to promote and encourage use of alternative restorative materials that are easily available, effective, and comparably priced.

    In line with these efforts, Bangladeshi NGO ESDO has already started working with Bangladesh Dental Society and Bangladesh Army Medical and Dental core with an aim to end amalgam use in the country by 2018.

    The participants of the summit finally set Asian Countries priorities in the phase out of mercury amalgam first priority among which is to build strong public awareness and networking among Asian Countries in coordination with dental societies and associations, dentists, students, private sectors, government ministries and civil society organizations.

    Developing an alternative dental curriculum which prioritize the alternative materials and which include a specific chapter on the dental restoration process of amalgam and its harm to dental staff, patients and the environment by 2020 was also a prime priority of the team.

    The summit urged for passing national regulation to ban the use, import and sale of mercury amalgam by 2016-2020 as per country situation.

    NGO representatives from 9 countries- USA, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, China, Indonesia, Philippines, South-Africa participated in the summit and hoped that Asian nations will adopt effective amalgam reduction strategies that have been proven in nations, that have already phased out or significantly reduced dental mercury use.

    About The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry

    The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry is a coalition of consumer, dental, and environmental organizations working together to phase out amalgam use. With eleven regional offices throughout the world and technical expertise in dentistry, environment, and policy, the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry serves as a unique resource for nations working to implement the Minamata Convention’s amalgam phase-down measures.

    Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO)

    ESDO is an independent and non-profit research and public policy lobbying organization dedicated to the conservation of bio-diversity, toxic free world through working to achieve environmental and social justice since 1990. The mission of ESDO is to promote and encourage an environmental movement through a participatory democratic framework involving diverse social groups, and to assist them with ideas, information, and leadership for promoting a safe and sustainable environment.

    Asian Center for Environmental Health

    The Asian center for Environmental Health was founded jointly with the World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry and Environment and Social Development Organization- ESDO in 2013 at the headquarter  in Dhaka. It aimed to meet the emerging need of an institution to work on Environmental Health in Asia Pacific and facilitate the expertise to and cooperation with governments in Asia Pacific.

    For more information, please contact:

    Charles G. Brown, President of the World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry,  Washington, DC, USA, charlie@toxicteeth.org, (1202) 544 6333.
    Ms. Siddika Sultana, Director of the Asian Center for Environmental Health, Dhaka, Bangladesh, siddika@esdo.org, (+88017) 1407 3861.
    Ms. YaoLingling, All-China Environment Federation, Beijing, China, lindy708@126.com, (86 10)5123 0007………………..
    (This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)