THE environment-advocate group, EcoWaste Coalition, lauded the order of the Department of Health (DOH) to phase out dental amalgam, a tooth filling material containing approximately 50% mercury.
Thony Dizon, the group’s Chemical Safety Campaigner said the issuance of Administrative Order No. 2020-0020 signed by Health Secretarty Francisco Duque lll is a welcome development.
The AO entitled “Guidelines on the Phase-Out of Mercury Use in Dental Restorative Procedures” is in line with the goals of Republic Act 11223, or the Universal Health Care Act, and the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which provides controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted.
Under the order, the use of dental amalgam will no longer be allowed after the phase-out period of three years from the effectivity of the said order.
The directive bans the importation of liquid mercury and dental amalgam for dental restorative procedures, and further bans the use of dental amalgam for children 14 years old and below, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
“DOH A.O. 2020-0020 sets a clear path to the country’s transition to mercury-free dentistry. We laud its development in consultation with stakeholders and its eventual adoption as a milestone in the implementation of the Minamata Convention in the Philippines despite the country’s long-overdue ratification of this treaty,” Dizon said.
In the same order, it was stated that dental amalgam capsules in combined, pre-dosed encapsulated form and for single use only will be allowed during the phase-out period for use by government dental units, local dental schools and private industrial dental clinics.