Stakeholders have called for the phase down of Dental Amalgam used in children under the age of 16 years, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers among others, in Nigeria as it was dangerous to human health and causes environmental pollution.
The stakeholders, at a meeting in Benin with the theme, “Towards Mercury-free Dentistry” at the weekend, called for the phase out of Amalgam and for alternatives to ensure safe environment.
Participants at the meeting were drawn from the Sustainable Environment Development Initiative (SEDI), World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry and Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADEV).
Others include the Edo State Ministries of health and Environment and the Nigeria Dental Association (NDA).
Speaking during the event, the Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo, said research had shown that amalgam contained 50 percent of elemental mercury which was a toxic substance dangerous to the heart, kidney, lung, cardiovascular and immune system.
Represented by Pastor (Mrs.) Alex Enunwaoyi, Osifor added “It is particularly dangerous to the vulnerable group, such as pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and infants.”
He stressed the need to gradually replace dental amalgam with an alternative that was easily accessible, affordable and sustainable, assuring that Governor Godwin Obaseki would support the ban on the use of amalgam, if brought to his notice.
“I as the Commissioner for Health in Edo State, I support the use of alternative for dental amalgam and all measures needed to ensure a gradual phase out of amalgam with the use of alternative”, he said.
Also speaking, SEDI’s Executive Director, Dr. Tom Aneni, said dental amalgam, a filling for cavities, was about 50 percent mercury which is a neurotoxin, a pollutant and harmful to human health.
He said ending use of dental amalgam would ensure improved dental health and a cleaner environment for children and women as well as promoting disease prevention and protection.
On his part, President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, Charles Brown, noted that the campaign to phase down Amalga in Nigeria and the world at large was being moved to the various governments.
Brown also said the organisation was out to ensure mercury-free dentistry across the world, adding that the harmful nature of the material led to Minamata declaration in 2013.
He commended the federal government on its giant stride towards stamping out the product from the Nigerian market.
He called on all Nigerians to join in the fight of making the product history in the country.
In his speech, Chairman, Nigeria Dental Association, Edo State chapter, Dr. Anthony Osaguona, represented by its secretary, Dr. Abhulimen Franklin, said the association will do all it could to help sensitize the public on the danger of the product.