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Stakeholders Call for End of Dental Amalgam

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Stakeholders and Government at all levels in Nigeria and all nations in Africa have been called upon to sustain the campaign to completely phase out Dental Amalgam in dentistry.
The call was made in Benin City, capital of Edo State, Sunday, at the Stakeholders’ briefing on phase down of Dental Amalgam in Nigeria.
In his welcome remarks, the National Vice Chairman, Civil Society Group on phase down of Dental Amalgam in Nigeria, Dr. Tom Aneni, said the call is a follow-up to a similar forum which was held 31st of October last year.
He explained that Amalgam, a chemical substance used by dentists in the treatment of dental problem contains mercury, a chemical which is of global concern owing to its long range atmospheric transport, persistent in the environment.
According to him, ” Dental Amalgam, a filling for cavities is about 50 percent mercury, a neurotoxin and a pollutant that knows no borders”.
He disclosed that Nigeria was a signatory to the Minamata Convention on mercury in Kumamoto, Japan in  October 2013 and February 2018, making it the 88th country to ratify that convention, adding that the objective of the Stakeholders’ meeting was to mark the civil society consensus to end amalgam use for children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women in Edo State by July 1, 2018.
Dr. Aneni pointed out that emphasis on children became necessary because they are important agents of change to invest in, with a view to addressing multidimensional deprivations, harnessing demographic dividend and empowering them to build a more prosperous future.
He added that health impacts linked to childhood exposure to mercury often do not manifest for years and could include cancer, developmental disorder and learning disabilities.
On women, the National Vice Chairman on Civil Society Group on phase-down of dental amalgam, further said women are the first contact and educator of child, noting that throughout their lives, women are exposed to harmful chemicals, including amalgam that can be transferred across the placenta during fetal development and through breast milk to the nursing infant.
“Amalgam exposures in the womb or in early childhood may cause lifelong harm. Exposures in the fetal development increase the risk of such harmful effects as preterm births,  birth defects, childhood and adult diseases. Adverse effects can be carried across multiple generation”, he said.
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