International Mercury Treaty Signed
- Fiona Collins
- Jan 25, 2013
The long-awaited international mercury convention was held in Geneva this month between January 13 and January 18 for work on a new International Mercury Treaty, with 147 states attending. This treaty will be officially signed in October in Japan. The objective of the treaty is to effectively reduce mercury emissions worldwide. Measures included in the treaty include regulation of trading in mercury; its use in products, gold mining and processes; and the handling and disposal of mercury as well as management of contaminated sites.
Recommendations in the treaty with respect to amalgam are based on a ‘phase down’ approach whereby the use of alternative restorative materials will be encouraged. At the same time, the ability to continue to use amalgam, which is recognized as a cost-effective and long-lasting restorative option by dental and health organizations worldwide, is important for oral health globally. This treaty again highlights the need for dental offices to follow “Best Practices” for the safe handling and disposal of amalgam in the dental office, thereby preventing amalgam waste from reaching water treatment plants in wastewater or from it ending up in landfills and then groundwater due to inappropriate disposal and contaminating.