FDI welcomes the Minamata Convention on Mercury

FDI World Dental Federation welcomes the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, taking place in Minamata, Japan on Oct. 9. The choice of Minamata, where serious health damage occurred as a result of mercury pollution in the mid-20th Century, is highly symbolic.

FDI has made it a priority to be involved in the drafting of the Convention from the outset. It was gratified to see consensus develop around the phase-down approach to dental amalgam—a mercury-added product containing 50% mercury—during the fifth and last meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury (INC5).
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This phase-down approach was advocated by FDI, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Association for Dental Research (IADR).

"Challenges for the profession"
Dr. Stuart Johnston from the British Dental Association, who led the FDI negotiating team throughout the five negotiating sessions of INC says: “We are all delighted that the Minamata Convention allows the dental profession continued access to a key restorative material. Dental amalgam is safe and effective; it has been in use for over 150 years and no studies have demonstrated any harm to human health."

“However, this is where the real challenges for the profession begin. Our team from FDI made a series of commitments on phasing down the use of amalgam, promoting research into new dental materials, managing dental amalgam waste, and reducing the need for restorative dental care through prevention. Now we have to deliver.”

With this in mind, FDI is developing guidelines for members of the dental profession on the contents of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and how each individual can contribute towards implementing the profession’s commitments. The guidelines also detail how to explain the provisions of the Convention on dental amalgam to health officials, members of the media, and the general public.

In addition, as part of its commitment to waste management, FDI has launched a pilot project in countries of East Africa in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WHO, and International Dental Manufacturers (IDM). The mid-term intention is to develop local expertise in amalgam waste management and recycling.