Minamata Convention amended to protect children from amalgam

Reflecting a remarkable shift in global opinion, the nations of the world have amended the Minamata Convention on Mercury to call for ending amalgam use in children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.  On 25 March 2022, the Parties to the Minamata Convention (that is, the national governments) decided unanimously to amend this international treaty to…

“….Exclude or not allow, by taking measures as appropriate, or recommend against the use of dental amalgam for the dental treatment of deciduous teeth [baby teeth], of patients under 15 years and of pregnant and breastfeeding women….“

This new amendment represents a worldwide consensus that dental amalgam is not safe for children and other vulnerable populations – it is not safe in their mouths and it is not safe in their environment.

The Africa Region led the charge to win this amendment.  We were honored to provide technical assistance as African nations built support for the proposed amendment and reached out to the 27-nation European Union, which was proposing its own amendment to strengthen the treaty’s amalgam requirement.

The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry undertook a multi-pronged campaign to lay the groundwork for passing the amalgam amendment: convincing the Minamata Secretariat that mercury-free alternatives to amalgam are feasible…persuading the World Health Organization to acknowledge that an amalgam phase-out is possible… and sharing the science and practical policy solutions with governments from every region.  The mercury-free dentistry movement was present in force during the COP 4.2 amendment debates in Bali, Indonesia: we led a ten-person team of talented and energetic nonprofit group leaders and dental experts from Bangladesh, Cameroun, Germany, Great Britain, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Uruguay, and Vietnam. 

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