Oral health and environment protected under minamata convention


FDI World Dental Federation has welcomed the outcome of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) International Negotiating Committee (INC5), which closed on 19 January. It said that both Oral Health and the environment will be protected under the resulting international treaty on mercury, called the Minamata Convention.

The Minimata Convention will regulate a range of areas, including the use of mercury in products and industrial processes. During the Geneva negotiations, consensus built around the phase-down approach to dental amalgam advocated by both FDI and the World Health Organization

Improving Oral Health

Dental amalgam, a compound containing mercury, is a key restorative material in the fight against dental caries, the cause of tooth decay, which afflicts 90 percent of the world’s population, making it a global public health issue. FDI had advocated a reduction in the use of dental amalgam-versus a ban-through a greater focus on dental prevention and health promotion, increased research and development on alternatives, and best management techniques for amalgam waste.

This is identical to the position of the WHO Oral Health Programme, world leader in the area, and supported by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). FDI, whose key objective is to improve world oral health, supports the approach to dental amalgam as laid down in the future Convention.

Public health and environmental safety

“The solution proposed by the treaty advances both public health and environmental safety directly” emphasized FDI President Dr Orlando Monteiro da Silva (Portugal), reacting to INC5 results.

“We are also pleased that the proposed treaty recognizes the need for national programmes to prevent oral disease and calls for more research into developing new alternative materials. FDI supports a phased down approach based on prevention, research for new dental filling materials and use of best management practices,” concluded Dr da Silva.

4-year process

INC5, which brought together over 140 countries, is the culmination of a process launched in 2009 to develop a global legally binding instrument on mercury. Its result is the adoption of a wide-ranging agreement that aims to reduce mercury emissions and releases to the air, water and land.

The agreement addresses the supply of and trade in mercury, use of mercury in products and industrial processes, measures to be taken to reduce emissions from artisanal and small-scale gold mining, measures to be taken to reduce emissions from power plants and metals production facilities, storage and treatment of waste containing mercury.

The future convention will be signed in Minamata later this year-hence the name-and will enter into force once it has been ratified by 50 countries. Minimata is the town in Japan that suffered one of the worst ever cases of mercury poisoning. ence, and allowed me to reflect on my own practice and approach. All feedback is useful to doctors – and for many it is about improving their already high standards. This is the biggest change to medical regulation in over a hundred years, but must importantly the process provides huge reassurance to patients and the public.”


According to the General Medical Council, the United Kingdom is the first country worldwide to introduce such a comprehensive system across the nation’s healthcare system.

Language competence – UK hospital and medical agencies are not allowed to test the language skills of the doctors who come in from other European Union countries to determine whether they can communicate properly (whether their English is good enough to work). Britain has interpreted EU law as meaning that health care professionals who qualify in any of the European Union’s 27 nations “must” be free to work elsewhere, with no restriction whatsoever.

According to the British Medical Association’s director of professional activities, Dr Vivienne Nathanson:

“It is clear that doctors who have qualified overseas are more likely to be subject to disciplinary action. However, more research is needed to understand why this is the case. The UK is still short of doctors and so we must ensure that those who come from overseas are given adequate support to be able to practise medicine in the UK.

It is critical that all doctors that work in the UK have appropriate clinical and communication skills as well as an understanding of UK law and culture and of how the NHS works.

amily:Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language: EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA’>”Future research will need to identify the natural history of HPV-related oropharyngeal dysplastic lesions and evaluate potential screening methods to detect oropharyngeal dysplasia prior to invasion. Successful screening measures such as a Papanicolaou test, HPV polymerase chain reaction testing, or both may be daunting to achieve, but there is meaningful hope that prevention efforts will ameliorate the effects of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer.”

February 5, 2013

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