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National Phase down of Mercury: Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

National Phase down of Mercury: Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury

Australia signed the Minamata Convention on 10 October 2013 and is now considering ratifying the Convention to become a full Party to it. The Department of Environment and Energy has released an Exposure Draft - Final Regulation Impact Statement (ED RIS) and costs and benefits (CBA) on the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and is seeking views on the options and impacts on Australia of meeting the obligations of the Minamata Convention.
 
ADA NSW provided input into the federal ADA submission. ADA reminded the Australian Government that in the Minamata Convention on Mercury (the Convention) dental amalgam was only to be phased down. Regulating to ban the availability of dental amalgam to clinicians would jeopardize appropriate patient care.
 
Comments in the Australian Dental Association submission include:
  • The ADA’s view is that while this phase down is occurring, the use of amalgam should remain available where clinically appropriate. There is no dental material perfect for all situations. Amalgam has its place being cost efficient; maintaining strength and longevity in certain areas which often outweigh any perceived risk to the environment.
  • Dentists’ professional ethics and obligations require them to offer patients all the clinically appropriate and available options that are in their best interest to patients
  • Continuing to utilise amalgam as an option for patients, where clinically appropriate, as well as taking measures to reduce the mercury impact associated with its use or removal, is consistent with the ‘phase down’ objectives of the Convention.
  • It was recommended that the Australian Government consider the ADA Policy Statements 6.11 Dental Amalgam Waste Management (including Guidelines for Amalgam Waste Management) and 6.18 Safety of Dental Amalgam. These Policy Statements outline how amalgam, when used as clinically appropriate, is done in a manner where the mercury and waste amalgam discharge is minimised.
  • Considering the cost to business as well as the overall environment, the ADA urges the Australian Government to consider a subsidy which would more directly encourage the voluntary take up of amalgam separators and subsequent collection and recycling of amalgam waste.
Read the full submission here