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A worldwide movement

MagazineJune 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 3)A worldwide movement

The US and UK government's position is proving at variance with the decision of several other countries

The US and UK government's position is proving at variance with the decision of several other countries. In Germany the Federal Health Agency (Bundesgesundheitsamt, BGA) in Berlin decided in early 1992 that amalgam fillings be used only for molars. The BGA also announced that amalgam containing gamma-2, a compound of tin and mercury, will be banned because of its inherent instability and the risk of mercury being released while a tooth is being filled.

The German government has been cagey, denying there is scientific evidence that amalgam can cause long-term disease other than for people who are allergic or have electrochemical reactions. Nevertheless, they also say that amalgam shouldn't be used in pregnant women, patients with kidney failure and toddlers (The Lancet, 1992, 339: 419). The Germany Federal Registry of Dentists has also sent a letter to the Minister of Health, requesting that he rule that no dentist in Germany be allowed to use dental amalgam. (Bio-probe Newsletter, May 3, 1994). The Swedes have taken the first step in an outright ban of amalgam fillings by 1997. Austria has plans to ban amalgam by the year 2000. Furthermore, mercury use is banned in pregnant women, unlike the UK's health system, which encourages women to have dental work done during their pregnancy.Some German companies such as Degussa, one of the world's largest manufacturers of dental amalgam, are stopping the production of amalgam, even though it represents, at this writing, half their turnover, and moving into manufacture of composite fillings, the plastic alternative to amalgam.


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