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Govt restricts use of mercury dental amalgam for children, pregnant women.

Islamabad -- Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has recommended all the dental clinics to restrict the use of mercury in children below age 15 and pregnant women for dental filling declaring it hazardous for public health, Friday. The ministry in this regard has issued an advisory to all provincial health departments to take measures for the restriction of mercury product amalgam used by dental clinics in certain groups. It has been advised to dentists to use alternate substance of mercury amalgam for the purpose of dental filling.

The notification issued in this regard has pleaded 'not to prefer and the restriction of mercury dental amalgam for children below the age 15 years and pregnant women in the country.'

The letter issued said that mercury is the 3rd most hazardous substance that is used in dental amalgam, a restorative material that is approximately 50% mercury. Mercury hazardousness is a cause of global concern, to which children are most vulnerable, causing neurological, development, reproductive problems, impairing growing nervous system, damages kidney and foetuses. Effects caused by mercury releases from the mercury in dental amalgam are considered life lasting, with significant impact on academic performance.

The letter also said that to protect human health and environment from emissions and releases of mercury from mercury compounds, global governments acted and adopted Minamata Convention on mercury to which it is in force since 2015. Pakistan is expected to sign it by the end of this year.

Parties to Minamata Convention on Mercury, among others, are obliged to phase out mercury in products (including Dental Amalgam) by 2020. The letter mentioned that in a local research data it was shown that among 43percent of clinics visited, mercury dental amalgam was the first choice, 70% dentists prefer not to use mercury filling for children below 12 years age, pregnant and breast feeding females and 67% support ban on mercury dental amalgam use.

Mercury free alternate material (Composite reins, glass, ionmers, ceramics and others) are available in the country and their use in increasing day by day. In many countries, mercury dental amalgam use has already been restricted and banned for children below 12 years of age and pregnant women and breast feeding mothers. The European Union banned amalgam use for children under age 15, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mother starting 1 July 2018.

All health departments are directed not to prefer and restrict the dental mercury filling for children below the age of 15 years and pregnant women in the country with immediate effect.

Spokesperson NHS Sajid Hussain Shah said that the government has not banned the use of mercury but it has advised to use alternate dental material for the filling. He said that government has issued an advisory to all provinces to ensure the new decision for the health safety of children and women.

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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 29, 2018
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