The World Health Organization Now Supports Mercury-Free Dentistry

August 29, 2022

WHO Report Concludes, “…phase-down and even phase-out of use of dental amalgam is achievable.”

For over two decades, Consumers for Dental Choice lobbied the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to end the use of dental amalgam, which is made up of  50% toxic mercury. Their advocacy campaign finally paid off in September of 2020 when the FDA issued a safety communication that finally recommended against the use of dental amalgam in individuals at higher risk of mercury exposure. According to the FDA, these people include pregnant women and their developing babies, women who are planning to become pregnant, nursing women and their newborns and infants, children (especially those younger than six years of age), people with pre-existing neurological diseases, people with impaired kidney function, and people with known heightened sensitivity (allergy) to mercury. This list is a good start, but exposure to mercury is harmful to every living person. Sadly, many government programs are indifferent to mercury-free dentistry. Federal and state dentistry programs are still exposing military members, Native Americans, institutionalized persons, low income children and families to this toxic compound. On a positive note, it appears that the FDA’s safety communication created momentum for the mercury-free dentistry campaign, as recent progress has been made on the international level. Most notably, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now promoting mercury-free dental options. This policy change came about after the organization consulted with international dental policymakers resulting in a 58-page report. The document concluded: “Importantly, the 2021 informal global WHO consultation with policymakers in dental public health shows that phase-down–and even phase-out–of the use of dental amalgam is achievable.” But the WHO did not stop there. In a follow-up briefing paper, the organization acknowledged the benefits of mercury-free alternatives to dental amalgam. The group especially singled out the advantages of composite fillings. The briefing paper states: “Composite resin can be applied using minimally invasive intervention procedures. The minimally invasive intervention involves treating cavitated carious lesions while preserving as much of the natural tooth structure as possible and avoiding unnecessary extraction and negative consequences.” 

Now that the WHO is on board with mercury-free dentistry, perhaps the organization may also acknowledge the importance of stopping other mercury exposures. Mercury still remains in common household and medical products. These products include:

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