In October 2013, nearly 150 countries signed the Minamata Convention, an international agreement to prevent the spread of toxic mercury. Among the provisions of the convention is that metal amalgam fillings should be phased down, with the goal of eventually replacing them with a better alternative.

Our filling upgrade can help you remove metal amalgam fillings from your mouth and replace them with a more aesthetic alternative.

Why the Minamata Convention?

The history of the Minamata Convention began more than 40 years ago in 1972, when members of the United Nations were shown firsthand the effects of Minamata disease. Minamata disease is the result of serious mercury poisoning. In Minamata disease, people who were exposed to mercury experienced many neurological problems, including:

  • Involuntary muscle movements

  • Numbness

  • Loss of hearing and speech

  • Vision loss

  • Muscle weakness

  • Insanity

  • Paralysis

  • Death

Mercury exposure was caused by the release of methylmercury into the water of Minamata bay, where it accumulated in shellfish and fish, which were eaten by people, resulting in poisoning. Symptoms were suffered by at least 2200 victims, many of whom were exposed in the womb.

As a result of seeing the damaging effects of mercury exposure, the UN established the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Official work on the Minamata convention began in 2009, and the draft was completed in January 2013. Although it was signed by 147 countries, it will not go into effect until it is ratified by more than 50, and so far only the US has ratified it.

What the Convention Says about Dental Amalgam

The text of the Minamata Convention begins with the statement,

“Mercury is a chemical of global concern owing to its long-range atmospheric transport, its persistence in the environment once anthropogenically introduced, its ability to bioaccumulate in ecosystems and its significant negative effects on human health and the environment.”

As a result, the Convention calls on signatories to implement procedures to reduce the use of metal amalgam fillings. Signatories are required to implement at least two of nine procedures to reduce the use of metal amalgam, including:

  • Trying to reduce cavities

  • Setting national objectives for metal amalgam reduction

  • Researching and promoting alternative filling materials

  • Encouraging dental schools to educate dentists not to use metal amalgam

  • Encouraging insurance policies that pay for alternatives as well as amalgam

  • Promoting environmentally safe handling of metal amalgams in the dental office

These procedures are designed not only to protect the environment, but also to protect people who may have metal amalgam fillings placed.

If you are looking to replace your metal amalgam fillings with a more attractive alternative, please call

(912) 234-8282 for an appointment at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry in Savannah, Georgia.