64 civil society organisations (CSOs) worldwide, including the Consumers Association of Penang and 14 other groups in the Asia Pacific region, have called on 2 major companies to stop manufacturing dental amalgam, a toxic product containing mercury.
In a letter dated 22 February 2022, the 64 CSOs wrote to Australian company Southern Dental Industries (SDI) and Envista Holdings Corporation headquartered in California, USA to exit from the manufacturing of dental amalgam.
The world’s largest dental products manufacturer, Dentsply Sirona, had exited amalgam in 2020, attributing the decision to governmental decisions that limit amalgam use.
The use of dental amalgam is not allowed for children in almost 40 nations whilst at least a dozen countries have phased out amalgam entirely or set a definitive end date to do so. Malaysia has yet to announce a definitive date to phase out amalgam but has started phasing down its use.
Exposure to mercury may pose a greater health risk in certain groups of people, who may be more susceptible to potential adverse effects generally associated with mercury. These high-risk populations include:
> Pregnant women and their developing fetuses
> Women who are planning to become pregnant
> Nursing women and their newborns and infants
> Children, especially those younger than 6 years of age
> People with pre-existing neurological disease
> People with impaired kidney function
> People with known heightened sensitivity (allergy) to mercury or other components (silver, copper, tin) of dental amalgam
We hope that with SDI and Envista ceasing manufacture of dental amalgam and switching to making non-toxic alternative dental materials we can achieve mercury-free dentistry in the very near future.