A series of workshops throughout South and Southeast Asia last fall focused in on one question: How do we end amalgam use in our nation? Then the South Asian Summit on Mercury-Free Dentistry met in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where non-government organization leaders from many Asian nations were huddling to hash out a plan. Together, they drafted a seminal document, the Dhaka Declaration for Mercury-Free Dentistry for Asia. This week, they unveiled it – replete with signatures from 137 non-government organizations and professionals from all over South and Southeast Asia.
As these leaders explained, “We are calling on Asia toend the use of mercury-based dentistry. Asia is the most densely populated continent on the planet and therefore risks incredible harm to human health and the environment.” These organizations are demanding that each nation adopt effective strategies that have been proven to phase out dental mercury use, including:
- Making it an immediate priority to stop the use of mercury amalgam in the treatment of children and pregnant women
- Developing a curriculum for dental students with a specific chapter explaining the risks of mercury amalgam
- Passing national regulations to prohibit the use, import, and sale of mercury amalgam
- Promoting the use of mercury-free dental materials
The Dhaka Declaration is modeled after the Abuja Declaration for Mercury-Free Dentistry for Africa, drafted in Nigeria’s capital city last May. The Abuja Declaration now has the endorsement of 40 civil society organizations from every corner of the African continent, all pledging to move Africa to mercury-free dentistry.