On January 19, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) International Negotiating Committee (INC) agreed on the Minamata Convention—a treaty designed to reduce the release of mercury into the environment when used by people across the globe.
Dental amalgam, a product that contains mercury, was the subject of significant discussions at previous INC meetings, which ultimately led to agreement on the recent treaty. CDA is pleased with the phase down approach that has been adopted for dental amalgam, as it focuses on prevention, research on new restorative materials and use of best practices in waste management.
“In the short term, we expect the impact of the Minamata Convention on Canadian dentistry to be minimal. The use of dental amalgam in Canada is declining and appropriate waste management practices are already in place in almost all dental practices,” explains Dr. Benoit Soucy, CDA director of clinical and scientific affairs. “In the medium to long term, the phase down will provide an impetus for the development of better restorative materials and increased prevention efforts that will have a positive impact on the oral health of Canadians.”
The convention, which has been under negotiation for the last 4 years, will be open for signature in October. CDA has actively advocated against the ban of dental amalgam, to ensure the best possible health outcomes for all Canadians.
Read more on CDA’s advocacy initiatives regarding dental amalgam.