BENIN CITY- Federal and State governments have been called upon by stakeholders drawn from the medical profession, academia, civil society organisations, student groups, media, and others, to end amalgam use in children under 16 and breast feeding women, saying amalgam contains 50 percent elemental mercury. Amalgam is a liquid mercury and metal alloy mixture used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay in children under 16 years, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The stakeholders made this call through a communique presented at the end of a workshop on Phase Down of Dental Amalgam Use in Edo State organised by the Sustainable Environmental Development Initiative (SEDI) Nigeria, under the auspices of World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, USA.
According to the stakeholders, exposure to mercury can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, cardiovascular system and immune system, particularly in women, unborn children and infants. They frawned at the low level of awareness among Nigerians on the dangers of mercury in dental amalgam which has resulted to it being widely used in Nigeria.
The stakeholders recommended full compliance with the provision of the Minamata convention adopted and signed by over 87 nations of the world on 9th October, 2013 at Minamata, Japan. They said in doing this, government should initiate a coordinated multi-sectoral approach for an effective phase down of use of dental amalgam in Nigeria and in updating dental schools training curriculum to emphasize mercury-free dentistry.
The stakeholders of Edo State then called for the end of dental amalgam use in children under 16 and for breastfeeding women as of 1st July, 2018.
Those present at the workshop include Dr. Charlie Brown- President of World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, USA, Mr. Leslie Adogame- Lead Fellow, Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev) Nigeria, Dr. Tom Aneni- Executive Director, Sustainable Environmental Development Initiative (SEDI), Dr. Joan Enabulele- Senior Lecturer and former HOD, Department of Restorative Dentistry, Mr. Bummi Olusanya- Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Anthony Osaguona- Chairman, Nigeria Dental Association (NDA), Edo State branch, and many others.