Amalgam fillings, which are a mixture of liquid mercury and powdered alloys of tin, copper, and silver, have long been a source of controversy in the dental world. Many dentists, consumers and health environment organisations are calling for a complete ban on the substance, especially for use in pregnant women and children, due to health risks. The other aspect of the debate centers on the environmental impact. Secondary poisoning of fish and wildlife, as well as its effects on water, air and land are also at the forefront of the campaign.
Dr Graeme Munro-Hall, a British dentist, made a public statement explaining the current situation, “British dentists increasingly realize that the end is near for amalgam. Alternatives are available, affordable, and effective. It is time for the UK to say good-bye to amalgam, a material clearly inferior to composite or ionomers.”
Europe is the world’s biggest user of amalgam at present, which makes this a worrying factor. Three members from the European Parliament have distributed petitions calling for support in banning its use. Currently the petition holds over seventeen thousand names and is still growing. Representatives from European institutions are due to meet on the 6th December to discuss the regulations on the use of mercury, which includes its use in dentistry.