Gregg Gordon | December 19, 2016
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has adopted a rule to require dentists, whose treatment of tooth decay with mercury compounds has sent the toxic substance into public sewers for decades, to contain their discharges by early 2020.
On Friday, the day after EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the final rule, European authorities approved a draft rule that would bar dentists from using mercury compounds to fill cavities in vulnerable populations.
The actions to shield the public from dentists’ use of mercury moved governments on both sides of the Atlantic toward aligning with the goals of a 2013 treaty signed by 128 countries – the Minamata Convention. The treaty, ratified by the United States and 34 other nations, calls for phasing out products that emit mercury vapor and disposing of the toxin more safely.