Alarmed that Victoria-based Southern Dental Industries intends to keep selling mercury fillings (dental amalgam) to ‘lower soci-economic markets’ rather than its supply of non-polluting alternatives, 64 civil society organisations from 48 nations call on its CEO, Samantha Cheetham, to halt the practice. https://mercuryfreedentistry.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/intl-ngos-to-southern-dental-22.2.22_.pdf
The subject of an international treaty which mandates scaling down of its use, dental amalgam is a primitive filling material, 50% mercury, highly disfavored by modern dentists. A dozen countries have outlawed its use, either via proscription or setting a firm end date, including the Philippines and Australia’s territorial neighbor New Caledonia. One dental products company after another has exited making amalgam – so now, only two publicly-traded companies in the world remain manufacturing amalgam, Southern Dental Industries in Australia and Envista in the United States.
Because of mercury’s neurotoxic and reproductive toxic qualities, more than 30 countries, including the entire European Union, ended amalgam use for children and for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration made such a recommendation in 2020, and now the Australian government itself calls for “minimizing use in pregnant or breastfeeding women, children and in people with kidney disease,” https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-fillings. In its annual report, however, Southern Dental indicates no limits or restraints on it amalgam’s use – but rather the converse. It brags to investors that it will ‘continue to promote its Amalgam products to lower soci-economic markets.’ https://www.sdi.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/2021-Annual-Report_sec.pdf
‘The Cheetham family needs to stop selling mercury fillings, as other manufacturers have done, and sell quality, non-toxic dental fillings materials to Asian and Pacific consumers,’ said Lee Bell of Perth, the Senior Researcher at the National Toxics Network.
‘We Fijians don’t need mercury imported here,’ said Emele Duituturaga, an experienced environment and community advocate from Suva. ‘The mercury stays here and ends up in the fish or the vegetables children eat. Southern Dental has non-toxic dental materials it sells to Australians, and we ask for the same courtesy to its neighbor island states.’
The letter from the 64 CSOs calls Southern Dental’s decision to keep selling amalgam while others have stopped ‘penny wise but pound foolish,’ pointing to likely reputational harm coming from consumers, to governments, and to dentists, an overwhelming share of whom are shifting to mercury-free dentistry.
The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, mercuryfreedentistry.net, spearheaded the letter to Southern Dental. Its president, Charlie Brown in Washington, added, ‘Southern Dental is fighting the arc of history that bends toward justice. It needs to stop sending this inferior, toxic product to developing countries. These governments, dentists, and consumers want the same dental materials Southern Dental markets to Australians.’
CONTACT: Charles Brown, +1-202-544-6333; Siddika Sultana, +880-2-9122729
SOURCE The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry