It is also important to note that as a safety precaution, the IAOMT also does not recommend amalgam mercury filling removal for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and that the IAOMT does not recommend that dental personnel who are pregnant or breast-feeding conduct work that disrupts amalgam mercury fillings (including their removal). These recommendations are based on scientific research, as well as regulatory actions in some countries.
Research has repeatedly shown the potential for adverse health effects in pregnant women, fetuses, and children as a result of dental amalgam mercury fillings. Some of the impacts that have been examined in science include the following:
- Fetal and infant exposure to mercury is known to have potentially serious health consequences, and the number of maternal amalgam fillings has been associated with mercury levels in cord blood; in the placenta; in the kidneys and liver of fetuses; in fetal hair; and in the brain and kidneys of infants.
- Mercury is excreted in breast milk of mothers with dental amalgam mercury fillings, and the mercury concentration in breast milk increases as the number of amalgam fillings in the mother increases.
- Another area that has received much attention is the possibility of reproductive hazards to female dental personnel, including menstrual cycle disorders, fertility issues, and pregnancy risks. The need for occupational safety from mercury amalgam fillings for dental workers has been established.
- Scientific research continues to show that children are at-risk for health impairments linked to dental amalgam mercury fillings, and specific genetic traits have been associated with adverse effects of dental mercury in children.
Norway banned dental amalgam in 2008, Sweden banned the use of dental amalgam for almost all purposes in 2009, and Denmark, Estonia, Finland, and Italy use it for less than 5% of tooth restorations. Japan and Switzerland have also restricted or almost banned dental amalgam. France has recommended that alternative mercury-free dental materials be used for women during pregnancy, and Austria, Canada, Finland, and Germany have purposely reduced the use of dental amalgam fillings for children, women during pregnancy, and/or in patients with kidney problems.
In December of 2016, three EU institutions (the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union) reached a provisional agreement to ban dental amalgam fillings for children under 15 and pregnant and breastfeeding women as of July 1, 2018, and to consider banning dental amalgam completely by 2030.
Part of this agreement was inspired by the United Nations Environment Programme’s Minamata Convention on Mercury, which is a global treaty that entered into force in 2017. The United States was the first country to give its support for ratification of the international treaty, which includes initiatives with regards to phasing down the use of dental mercury amalgam.
What these measures mean is that some regions of the world are taking action to end the use of dental mercury altogether, while others are at least ending it for children and women during pregnancy as global dental mercury use is slowly phased-down.