Islamabad : The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination has recommended to switch over to the capsulated form of mercury dental amalgam and restrict the manual mixing of mercury amalgam at health care centres to avoid health professionals’ exposure and environmental contamination.
The recommendations were made at a meeting held at the Ministry attended by representatives from the ministry, dental institutes and think tanks. Sustainable Development Policy Institute was represented by Dr Mahmood A Khwaja, the Senior Adviser on Chemicals and Sustainable Industrial Development.
The meeting also recommended that alternative cheaper materials should be locally searched and for this purpose evidence-based research activity should be initiated at institutional level.
Talking to this correspondent, Dr Khwaja said that mercury is hazardous and toxic substance and its use in dental filling was linked to environmental harm as well as increased risk of a number of diseases.
He said that the meeting reviewed studies to restrict and not to prefer the use of mercury amalgam under 15 years of age. He said that children are more vulnerable to this element as its use causes neurological and reproductive problems and damages kidneys and fetuses. To protect human health and environment from emissions from mercury and its compounds, he said that the governments are adopting Minamata Convention on mercury to which more than 128 countries, including Pakistan, signed and 93 countries also ratified.
According to commitment, Pakistan has to phase out mercury use till 2020. Dr Khwaja hoped that steps taken by the government to stop the use of mercury would go a long way in phasing out dental mercury amalgam use not only in Pakistan but also in our neighbouring countries.