Published Date: Oct 1, 2018
Mercury use banned for children, pregnant women
Islamabad : Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) has termed the action of federal government to restrict the use of mercury dental amalgam for children below 15 and pregnant women as a step in the right direction at a right time.
The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, in an advisory note, directed all the health departments in four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan not to prefer and restrict the dental mercury amalgam fillings for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The decision came as a result of SDPI’s research and regressive advocacy campaigns to ban mercury dental amalgam use in the country from time to time.
The research on chemicals and sustainable industrial development led by Dr Mehamood A Khwaja, Senior Advisor, SDPI, over the last few years was appreciated not only in Pakistan but also organisations working on mercury-related issues in the region.
SDPI is hopeful to eliminate mercury dental amalgam use not only for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women but also public in general across the country to safeguard their health.
Khwaja appealed the government to make legislation in this regard and strictly ban the use of mercury not only in dental amalgams but also in other devices.
According to the official notification, Mercury is the 3rd most hazardous substance of global concern to which children are most vulnerable, causing neurological, developmental, reproductive problems, impairing growing nervous system, damaging kidney and foetuses.
To protect human health and environment from emissions or releases of mercury from mercury compound, the world acted and adopted Minamata Convention on Mercury to which more than 128 countries including Pakistan are signatory. So, more than 92 governments already ratified the convention. Pakistan is expected to sign it by the end of this year. Parties to Minamata Convention on Mercury are obliged to phase out mercury in products, including dental amalgam, by 2020. The European Union already banned amalgam use for children under age 15, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers early this year.