Indian Journal of Dental Research

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 819-

Mercury, dentistry, minamata convention and research opportunities


SM Balaji 
 Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Director and Consultant, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Executive Editor S M Balaji
Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Director and Consultant, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Balaji S M. Mercury, dentistry, minamata convention and research opportunities.Indian J Dent Res 2019;30:819-819


How to cite this URL:
Balaji S M. Mercury, dentistry, minamata convention and research opportunities. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Jan 26 ];30:819-819
Available from: http://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2019/30/6/819/275886


Full Text



Amalgam, an effective restorative material component, is used in organized dentistry.[1] The identification of mercury as the cause of Minamata disease by way of Anthropocene activities. The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from human-induced emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. As of this date, there are 128 signatories to this convention and had 115 ratifications passed.[2]

As for as the dental amalgam is concerned, the convention demands that the signatories shall take sincere steps to phase down the use of dental amalgam while accounting to social constructs. The convention also calls for signatories to draw effective oral health policy implementation such that incidence of dental caries is reduced, minimize dental amalgam use, increase use of effective alternative restorative materials to mercury (ARM-Hg), promote research on ARM-Hg, educate stakeholders, discourage insurance entities that promote amalgam over ARM-Hg while encouraging those that promote ARM-Hg. It also calls for restricting the use of dental amalgam in encapsulated form and advocates for the promotion of best environmental practices in health care facilities to reduce releases of mercury and mercury compounds to water and land.[3]

Recently, there was Conference of the Parties- Session 3 that happened on 26th November 2019 at Geneva, Switzerland. There were discussions on the dental amalgam. There were mixed bags of opinion. The general consensus was that the phase-out of dental amalgam should not be rushed upon, especially in the absence of an ideal, clinically proven alternative that has sufficient (or equivalent) strength, longevity and performance of amalgam. The transit path should be developed based on sound evidence rather than rushing to employ the phase-out without equivalent alternatives.[2]

India is burdened by dental caries.[4] If the phasing down of amalgam were to happen immediately, the approximate cost of treating dental caries would increase additionally by INR 22,81.47 Crores.[5] This should be read together with the fact that the ARM-Hg are not as successful as amalgam. This situation requires investment in clinical and material research for developing ARM-Hg that has biological and technical equivalence to that of amalgam-based restoration.

Indian clinicians, dental colleges and researchers from material fields can work together to build a material that can save INR 22817.47 Crores per year. I hope the objectives of the Minamata convention objectives would be realized soon, but not at the cost of increased oral health burden or poor ARM-Hg.

References

1Araujo MWB, Lipman RD, Platt JA. Amalgam: Impact on oral health and the environment must be supported by science. J Am Dent Assoc 2019;150:813-5.
2Data from http://www.mercuryconvention.org/. [Last accessed on 2019 Dec 05].
3Minamata convention on mercury-text and annexes. United Nation Environment Program, Nairobi, September 2019, Page 56. Available from: http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Portals/11/documents/Booklets/COP3-version/Minamata-Convention-booklet-Sep2019-EN.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Dec 05].
4Balaji SM. Burden of dental diseases in India as compared to South Asia: An insight. Indian J Dent Res 2018;29:374-7.
5Sinha S, Das K. Mercury Free India-Right Choices. 1st ed. New Delhi: Toxic Link; 2014. p. 71. Available from: http://re.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Mercury-Free-India.pdf. [Last accessed on 2019 Dec 05].