Dental Mercury Use Banned in Norway, Sweden and Denmark Because Composites Are Adequate Replacements
Published on Jan 3, 2008 - 7:06:49 AM
By: Mercury Policy Project
Norway recently announced a ban on the use of mercury, including dental amalgam, that took effect on January 1, 2008. Sweden announced a similar ban and dentists in Denmark will no longer be allowed to use mercury in fillings after April 1, 2008.
"These bans clearly indicate that amalgam is no longer needed. There are viable non-mercury filling substitutes that are used everyday in the US," said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project. "By eliminating amalgam use, which is 50% mercury, we can reduce mercury pollution much more efficiently than end-of-the-pipeline solutions."
In a prepared statement, Norwegian Minister of the Environment Erik Solheim said that the reason for the ban is the risk that mercury from products may constitute in the environment. "Mercury is among the most dangerous environmental toxins. Satisfactory alternatives to mercury in products are available, and it is therefore fitting to introduce a ban," said Solheim.
The Swedish amalgam ban is for both environmental and health issues, according to authorities. Danish officials indicate that the reason for banning amalgam is also because composites have become better, and may now be used in many more situations than a few years ago.
Teeth will have to be mended with e.g. plastic or ceramics. Exceptions to use amalgam may be granted for a certain period after the ban, if dentists apply for it.
"Composite fillings have now become so strong that the Danish National Board of Health says that we can expand the ban to also include amalgam fillings," said the (Danish) Minister of Health Jakob Axel Nielsen to "TV Avisen".
Authorities note that when the ban takes effect in Denmark in four months time, the present subsidy for amalgam will be changed so that it will instead cover dental fillings of composite material.
Since the health insurance stopped paying for amalgam restorations in Sweden in 1999, the use has decreased markedly and is now estimated to be 2-5% of all fillings.