|To Australian dentists and health care practitioners:
Help us by writing a letter to Federal ministers and your local MP:
Australians for Mercury Free Dentistry are particularly keen to get the support of fellow professionals who disagree with continuing use of mercury amalgam. There has been a sharp drop in usage in recent years as people become more aware of the health and environmental issues - however now is the time for professionals to speak out.
The Australian Government is blocking global efforts to gain a treaty on mercury that will include the phasing out of dental amalgam. We need to send out a message to Canberra that we need to phase mercury out of the world’s environment and protect the health of our children, dental workers and the general public.
Please use the following suggested lines and write to the three Ministers listed at Parliament House, Canberra 2600. Please send a copy to us at:
Australians for Mercury Free Dentistry
131 Commercial Rd, South Yarra, Vic. 3141.
Ph: (03) 9939 9932 Fax: (03) 9078 0397 Em: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.mercuryfreedentistry.com.au + www.facebook.com/MercuryFree
The Hon. Tony Burke, MP. Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
The RT Hon. Kevin Rudd, MP. Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon. Nicola Roxon, MP. Minister for Health and Ageing
I am writing to you as a [ dentists/doctor/health profssional] concerned that no action is being taken to phase out the use of mercury dental amalgam despite the overwhelming evidence that its risks to health and the environment are greater than the benefits and the ready availability of alternatives.
The world is negotiating an environmental treaty to phase out the use of mercury, the most toxic and the most volatile of the heavy metals. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has identified the five “most important products to address under the mercury instrument” and has presented a draft treaty calling for the phase-out of all five.
At both the last treaty negotiating session in Japan, and in its submission to the UNEP, Australia has opposed including dental amalgam amongst the products to be phased out. It appears Australia is the only nation – out of more than one hundred - to take this position.
Our nation should be a leader in protecting the environment and public health from this mercury product.
Instead, Australia is at odds with other developed nations. The United States, in its submission to UNEP following the 2nd Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC2), supports the “eventual phase out” of amalgam and prompt phase-down steps such as protecting children and pregnant women. Even more recently, the Parliament of the Council of Europe on 27 May 2011 adopted a resolution calling for the phase-out of amalgam.
Australia is also at odds with our Pacific neighbours; Tuvalu, for example, stated on the floor of the UN session that amalgam is the major source of mercury problems in its country.
After a thorough review, in 1999 the National Health & Medical Research Council recommended that amalgam should not be used in children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and people with kidney impairments but little has been done to implement this.
Beyond concerns for these vulnerable populations, amalgam can be detrimental to oral health. As a primitive filling material, it can actually damage teeth. Placing amalgam requires the removal of significant amounts of healthy tooth matter, which weakens overall tooth structure and increases the need for future dental work. Superior modern alternatives already exist, as evidenced by the fact that half of Australian dentists have already abandoned amalgam entirely. The mercury-free alternatives they use preserve healthy tooth structure, leading to better oral health and less extensive dental work.
Because UNEP operates by consensus on treaties, one nation’s objections could torpedo the entire global effort to phase out dental mercury. We ask that the government withdraw its objection to amalgam being listed on Annex C as one of the products to be phased out.