FDA petitioned to change amalgam rule to comply with Minamata Convention

Consumers for Dental Choice has filed a new petition calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conform with the Minamata Convention on Mercury. We were joined by other petitioners including the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, Asian Center for Environmental Health, African Center for Environmental Health, and Mercury Policy Project.

The Minamata Convention requires parties to “phase down the use of dental amalgam.”  The nations deemed this measure necessary to protect the environment and human health.  The U.S. government signed and accepted the Minamata Convention on November 6, 2013.

But contrary to the Convention (and common sense), the FDA dental amalgam rule still insists that “any change towards use of dental amalgam is likely to result in positive public health outcomes.” It claims “any change away from use of dental amalgam is likely to result in negative public health outcomes.” 

So the U.S. led the Minamata Convention on Mercury from jumpstarting negotiations...to supporting robust terms...to ratifying the Convention before any other nation. But now that it's time to implement the Convention, FDA is resisting, pushing for “change towards use of dental amalgam” – the U.S.’s own largest intentional mercury use.  

The world is taking note. And speaking out: 

  • Last February, World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry representatives from around the globe and I met in person and by phone with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, asking him to bring FDA into conformity with the Minamata Convention. 
  • A month ago, sixty environmental groups sent a letter urging Secretary of State John Kerry to bring FDA into line with the U.S.’s commitment to reduce dental amalgam use.  
  • Then the press picked up the story, running articles describing how FDA is talking out both sides of its mouth: voicing support for the Minamata Convention while continuing to urge “change towards use of dental amalgam.”  

Now it’s time for the U.S. government to answer: Will FDA withdraw its official opposition to the Minamata Convention’s requirement to phase down amalgam use?

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