KATHMANDU, MAY 27 - Public health experts have drawn the attention of the concerned authorities and public over the use of amalgam (mercury) in dental fillings, warning that it causes negative health effects including immunological, neurological and psychological problems among the people.
Organising a two-day national workshop on Mercury Free Dentistry that started from Monday, the Centre for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) along with Nepal Dental Association are planning to raise awareness among concerned dental institutions, professionals and people in general regarding the harmful impact of amalgam dental fillings on an individual’s health and promote mercury-free dentistry.
Even though Nepal is signatory to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a legally binding treaty agreed by the world to prevent use of mercury containing products by 2020 to protect human lives and the environment from mercury pollution, and is working on a long-term action plan to phase out production, export and import of a range of mercury containing products and equipments such as thermometers, increasing use of mercury in dentistry is posing serious health risks to patients, says Ram Charitra Sah, Executive Director at CEPHED.
Dental amalgam, a combination of mercury with other metals like copper and silver, has been used for over 150 years for the treatment of tooth cavities and decay.
However, amid widespread health concerns on the use of amalgam fillings in dentistry, Western countries such as Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden have either totally banned or discouraged mercury fillings, especially for children and pregnant women.
“We need to also work on a regulatory framework and our plan to phase out amalgam in dental fillings should be our top public health priority. Nepal should work to address the possible public health and environmental implications from the increased and continuous use of amalgam dental fillings in the dental health care system of Nepal,” Sah added.