The European Union is set to ban the use of amalgam in dental fillings—but the UK is still digging in its heels and maintains that the material, which is 50 percent mercury, is safe.
The UK and the US is out of step with many other countries in banning, or part banning, amalgam. Aside from the EU’s 27 member states, more than 70 other countries, including India, Russia and Japan, have limited its use.
It will be illegal for European dentists to use the fillings from 2026. The fillings include liquid mercury, which is used to bind the material. However, vapours can escape, and studies have suggested they can cause chronic health problems, including cardiovascular disease.
The EU ruling will also ban the manufacture and export of amalgam.
The British and American dental associations maintain that amalgam is a safe material, both in the mouth and as environmental waste. But the views are not in line with their members, says Dr Graeme Munro-Hall, chief dental officer of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry. “The association clearly does not represent the many dentists who embrace mercury-free dentistry, nor does it represent the interests of our patients and our planet.”
He points out that dentists can use safer alternatives to amalgam fillings that are as effective and affordable.