On November 16, a number of nongovernmental organizations (NGO) urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to end the use of mercury in dental care procedures.
More than 70 NGOs signed a letter that was presented to the WHO that called for a ban on the use of dental mercury in procedures such as fillings. Mercury can damage both the environment and human health.
“We strongly urge the WHO to foster the innovative use of mercury-free alternatives in parallel with its commendable goal of bringing affordable dental healthcare to the global population,” said Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project. “This is entirely consistent with the vast number of similar initiatives going on worldwide to phase out the use of mercury in products and processes.”
When mercury transforms into highly-toxic methylmercury, it can pass through blood-brain barriers. Mercury can become especially dangerous for pregnant women and children when it is in this state.
The American Dental Association says that thanks to advances in dental care, dentists can now use ceramics and compounds instead of traditional dental materials.