In this interview, Charlie Brown, founder of Consumers for Dental Choice, provides us with an update to the global mercury-free dentistry campaign you’ve so generously helped us support through the past eight years.

We are now incredibly close to the ultimate finish line, thanks to Brown’s persistent and dedicated efforts and your unrelenting financial support. I want to extend a personal thank you to all who have contributed to this mission in the past, and are considering doing so now.

“We’ve been a great team since 2010,” Brown says. “It’s been fantastic. Without, we could not have built this world juggernaut, because that’s where we are now in terms of our progress.”

European Union Bans Dental Amalgam for Most Vulnerable Populations

Topping our list of good news: Consumers for Dental Choice has successfully facilitated a total ban on dental amalgam for children under 15 and pregnant and nursing women within the European Union (EU), effective July 1, 2018 — a victory that will positively affect half a billion people in 28 countries.

Edo, Nigeria, has also followed suit, as have the Bangladesh Dental Society (BDS), the Bangladesh Civil Society and the Vietnam Dental Society. In 2020, the EU will decide whether to take it a step further and phase out amalgam for all individuals across Europe. “Believe me, we’re going to be there. When that question comes, there’s only going to be one answer,” Brown says.

Chicago Declaration to End Dental Industry Mercury Use

In the U.S., Chicago has become a leading torch-bearer for mercury-free dentistry. “We decided Chicago was the right place. It’s the city where so many ideas assembled,” Brown says.

They began by getting a number of groups involved, including Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Environmental Working Group, the Organic and Natural Health Association, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, Health Care Without Harm, the International Indian Treaty Council and the Mercury Policy Project.

All of these groups now endorse the Chicago Declaration for Mercury-Free Dentistry. This, finally, made the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sit up and take notice.

“These major organizations joined with Consumers for Dental Choice to say, ‘We want amalgam for children ended now, just like the EU has done in 2018. We want to phase [dental amalgam] out in 2020,'” Brown says.

“Let’s thank the dentists of America who decided they would be mercury-free very early. We are supported by [mercury-free] dentists, and we want everybody … to only go to mercury-free dentists, because those men and women have stood strong for mercury-free dentistry.

I talked to the dental school’s dean in the oldest dental school in sub-Sahara, Africa. He’s in Nigeria. He is resolutely against amalgam and is moving his entire dental school to mercury-free dentistry. In Cameroon, the Baptist Hospital System [and] the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services … all the dentists are mercury-free … [since] 2005.”