Follow Us 
Login With Facebook
image image image

WAMFD's Charles Brown and IAOMT-Phils Pushes for Mercury-Free Dentistry


Atty. Brown with IAOMT-Phils' Dr Ebuen, EMB-DENR's ASec Cuna and Ms. Beng Pausing

Citing the recent move of the European Union to ban the use of mercury fillings (aka dental amalgam), Charles Brown of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry (WAMFD) reiterated that the country needs to follow suit and immediately address the continued use of the dental material.

As one of the leading figures in mercury-free dentistry and a staunch advocate of consumer rights, Charles Brown played a key role in highlighting the dangers of dental amalgam. This month, Brown met with IAOMT-Philippines' Dr, Lillian Lasaten-Ebuen and several Philippine government officials to commend them on their efforts. He mentions the Department of Health (DOH) and the Environment Management Bureau (EMB-DENR) for their current push to phase-out the use of dental mercury.

However, Brown also pointed out that the proposed phase-down/phase-out needs to be implemented soon or else the country is at risk of becoming a dumping ground for dental mercury. Dr, Ebuen likewise stated that the continued use of dental amalgam, particularly in dental colleges, exposes dentistry students, faculty, and patients to unnecessary health risks.

"The recent accidental spilling of liquid mercury in a public school in Manila, reminds us again, that the use and presence of neurotoxins such as mercury should never be allowed in the academic setting."€ Dr Ebuen said.

Currently, IAOMT-Philippines is campaigning for a change in the dental curriculum, urging the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to put focus on mercury-alternatives instead of requiring students to learn dental restoration via dental amalgam application. With the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the support of the DOH and the EMB-DENR, Dr. Ebuen is optimistic that the CHED will heed IAOMT-Philippines' call and eventually overhaul the dental curriculum to suit the country's commitment to the Convention.

Dental colleges in other countries, such as the NYU's College of Dentistry have already adopted policies to limit dental amalgam use. Stressing environment protection more than health concerns, the college's policy is still a significant challenge to dental mercury.


WAMFD's Charles Brown recognizing OLFU's Dean De Leon's efforts in minimizing dental amalgam use

Fortunately for CHED, the commission does not need to look any further as the Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) has adopted a similar policy. Dr. Arturo de Leon, Dean of the College of Dentistry, clarified that the college's policy is in line with the government's environment guidelines and it does not affect the training and education quality that their dentistry students receive.

As such, Dr De Leon stresses that while the college's programme limits dental amalgam use, the college does not contradict the stand of the Philippine Association of Dental Colleges (PDAC) on dental amalgam and still adheres to GV Black's amalgam formula. "There is no question when it comes to mercury's environmental effects but more data is needed when it comes to proving or disproving effects on human health once bound in amalgam fillings."€

Brown recognized that although OLFU's Dental College is not 100 percent mercury-free, its ingenuity in limiting the use of dental amalgam and exposing the environment to its ill effects should be recognized and applauded. As the country is preparing to meet its obligations under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, OLFU's Dental College could serve as a role model for dental colleges.