Dangerous mercury: No amalgam for children and pregnant women
The use of mercury in Europe should be significantly restricted. The heavy metal is one of the ten most dangerous environmental toxins in the world. It is also found in amalgam fillings. Such seals will only be available to children and pregnant women in the future in exceptional cases.
Cheap filler for holes in the teeth
Amalgam has been a cheap and common filler for holes in the teeth for decades. It consists of a mixture of silver, copper, tin and mercury. Since there is evidence that the material can be harmful to health, patients have been wondering what to do with their amalgam tooth fillings. Sometimes it is advised - especially if you have a known amalgam allergy - to have the filling replaced. However, there are also experts who think they can stay in the mouth, because it is not scientifically proven whether or how much this material is harmful to health. However, the use of amalgam will be reduced in the future.
For children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women only in exceptional cases
According to a message from the dpa news agency, the European Union wants to significantly reduce the number of dental fillings used millions of times because of the toxic mercury in amalgam. According to the information, dentists in children and pregnant and breastfeeding women should only use it in absolute exceptions from July 1, 2018. This was confirmed by the EU Commission on December 7th.
A ban is off the table for the time being, but by 2020 it will be checked whether dentists can completely do without it by 2030. As the report says, the compromise between the EU Parliament, the member countries and the Commission is part of a package to implement the so-called Minamata Convention, which is designed to curb the use of mercury.
Health risks from mercury
Amalgam is particularly in focus. This means that up to 75 tons of the highly toxic mercury come into circulation in the EU every year.
The possible health risks from the heavy metal are known. In adults, mercury poisoning can lead to kidney, liver, and nerve damage, among other things. In addition, the toxic heavy metal is suspected of increasing the risk of heart attack and Alzheimer's disease. An increased cancer risk from mercury is also assumed.
Mercury is one of the ten most dangerous environmental toxins, which are listed in the poison report by the Swiss environmental organization Green Cross and the organization Pure Earth from New York. "In order to contain the emissions of the heavy metal mercury, 140 states signed the Minamata Convention (Mercury Convention) in October 2013," says a statement.
Reduction in use
According to the dpa, the EU Commission considers the amalgam fillings to be safe for patients, especially since they are encapsulated in the mouth, but critics always raise doubts. They refer in particular to health risks in the processing, disposal and burning of the deceased in crematoriums. The heavy metal can enter the food chain via the atmosphere and ultimately accumulate in the body.
"The EU now has a clear road map to reduce and possibly even stop dental amalgam," said a spokeswoman for the commission. According to the information, a separate collection and safe disposal of mercury-containing waste from dental practices will be mandatory as of January 1, 2019. Action plans to reduce use are to be drawn up by the 28 EU countries. (ad)