Consumers for Dental Choice, the advocacy wing of the mercury-free dentistry movement, commends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule to require dental clinics to install and maintain amalgam separators.
"With its proposed rule, EPA is doing its part to reduce dental mercury going into our wastewater. American consumers and American taxpayers salute EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's effort," said Charlie Brown, executive director of Consumers for Dental Choice and president of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry.
Strong consumer support exists for separators, which are necessary to capture mercury released by dental clinics using mercury-based dental fillings. EPA action was spurred forward this spring when 13,000 people signed a petition by Consumers for Dental Choice calling for the rule which EPA now unveils.
Consumers for Dental Choice commends the thousands of U.S. dentists who already use separators. "This rule," Brown says, "will end the 'free rider' status for amalgam-using dentists who dump this neurotoxin directly into the wastewater – and then hand the clean-up bill to taxpayers."
The rule will not, however, scale down the use of dental amalgam, as required by the Minamata Convention on Mercury, signed by Secretary of State John F. Kerry. EPA is cleaning up after the historical use of dental mercury. Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must step up to stop the future use of dental mercury. Several countries – such as Sweden, Finland, and Denmark – have already virtually phased out amalgam use in favor of mercury-free filling materials.
Amalgam is a dental filling material made of approximately 50% mercury. A 2014 Zogby poll shows that 57% of Americans do not know that amalgam's main component is mercury and many Americans are misled by the marketing term "silver filings." Mercury from amalgam dental fillings reaches the environment via numerous pathways including not only releases from dental clinics, but also the cremation of human bodies containing amalgam and human waste. From there, microorganisms can convert dental mercury into even more toxic methylmercury that contaminates fish and harms children's developing neurological systems even before they are born.
Consumers for Dental Choice