ESDO in association with Bangladesh Dental Society organized a Press Briefing on March 10, 2018 where BDS declared “Mercury dental amalgam should not be used in the treatment of pregnant women, nursing mother and children after June, 2018”. The Press Briefing was held at the Dhaka Reporters Unity, BDS Secretary General Dr. Humayun Kabir Bulbul officially announced this decision.
Dr. Humayun Kabir Bulbul said, “Since Minamata Convention has already entered into force and be an international law, Bangladesh is ought to phase out mercury added products by 2020 as a signatory of the convention.” Dr. Kabir said, if a childbearing woman or breastfeeding mother has silver filling in her teeth, the fetus will be exposed to mercury released from the filling throughout the gestation period as it passes via placenta into the fetus. This is very damaging to neurological development because fetus doesn’t have a well-developed and effective blood brain barrier. Mercury also passes into breast milk and affects the nursing baby. So BDS have been committed to phase out mercury dental amalgam in Bangladesh by 2020 and its enforcement steps will be taken by 2018; He stated that, as part of BDS & ESDO joint initiative and in solidarity with the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry movement this is the 1st and significant initiative that has taken by BDS to stop amalgam to Children and nursing mother by June 2018.
“I am hopeful that since Bangladesh is a signatory country of Minamata convention, Government will pay much attention to introduce regulations to stop mercury amalgam in dental treatment,” said Syed Marghub Murshed, Former Secretary, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Chairperson of ESDO in this press briefing.
The vapor that released from mercury dental amalgam poses neurotoxic effects for the neurological systems of fetuses and young children and considering its potential toxicity, mercury is enlisted in the top ten chemicals of major public concern by WHO. This is high time to drain out the use of mercury amalgam in dental treatment to save people as well as environment from the consequential fatal effects of mercury.
Dr. Md. Abul Kashem, president, BDS said, “Mercury threatens not only our lives but also our environment. While many countries have already disallowed mercury amalgam, we, the people of Bangladesh, are far behind. For protecting our future, the use of mercury in dental treatment has to be outlawed right now”.
Today’s declaration of BDS signifies a way forward towards phasing out dental amalgam for the treatment of the most vulnerable groups of its toxicity. A concrete regulation from the government alongside is an urge for the early ratification of the convention”, said Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Executive Vice President of World Alliance.
“In 2013 Bangladesh signed Minamata Convention, the global treaty to phase out all sorts of mercury uses to protect human health and environment from its detrimental effects. On that account this declaration will be an effective move towards supporting the convention,” said Siddika Sultana, Executive Director, ESDO.
As Bangladesh is a signatory country of Minamata Convention, BDS together with ESDO made a call to the dental surgeons of Bangladesh for putting an end to the use of mercury amalgam in the treatment of pregnant woman, nursing mother and children within June, 2018. In accordance with that they made an urge to the Government to officially prohibit the use and export of mercury and mercury containing products.
BDS have been working alongside ESDO to create mass awareness among the dental surgeons whereas already a good number of institutions (public/private dental college/dental unit) and dental surgeons phased out practicing mercury amalgam in dental treatment. As recognition of their efforts, we in collaboration with ESDO declared several dental colleges and hospitals as mercury amalgam –free. Also we have initiated recognizing mercury amalgam free dental chambers from this year. In addition, we are making efforts to revise BDS curriculum giving more emphasizes on the harmful effects of mercury amalgam.
Recently “European Union” agreed to enact a ban on dental amalgam fillings use in children under 15 years old and in pregnant and breastfeeding women which takes effect on July 1, 2018.* Considering the importance of mercury–free dentistry especially for pregnant mother, nursing woman and children, we are declaring a ban on mercury amalgam for the treatment of pregnant mother, nursing woman and children by June, 2018 in Bangladesh. We are humbly requesting the distinguished members of the dental society to implement the ban all over Bangladesh.
BDS and ESDO demand to the government on prohibition on use and import of all mercury added products in Bangladesh. Dental professionals said, government should come forward with a concrete regulation in this regard considering the welfare of human health and the environment especially being a signatory country of the Minamata Convention on mercury.