Agent-Centered Deontology: The Minamata Convention on Mercury and Dentistry’s Role

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global, legally binding treaty which opened for signature on October 10, 2013 in Japan. To address the global oral health and environmental impact of mercury dental amalgam fillings, first author Tim K. Mackey and co-authors John T. Contreras and Bryan A. Liang collaborated on a peer-reviewed scientific journal article entitled The Minamata Convention on Mercury: Attempting to address the global controversy of dental amalgam use and mercury waste disposal published by Elsevier in Science of the Total Environment (1). The article gives an introduction to the international debate regarding mercury use in dental amalgam, examines the unresolved global dental amalgam controversy from an environmental and dental professional society perspective, describes the Convention’s provisions to phase-down the use of dental amalgam, and proposes a tiered programmatic policy approach to strengthen the implementation phase of the Convention.

On behalf of the United States of America, the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs simultaneously signed and ratified the Convention on November 6, 2013. The nation’s quick ratification of the treaty reflects the belief that the country can implement treaty-bound obligations under existing legislative and regulatory authority. To offer their opinion on the clinical dentist’s amalgam governance leadership role in America, first author John T. Contreras and co-authors Tim K. Mackey and Bryan A. Liang collaborated on a viewpoint article entitled Global Amalgam Governance: The Need for Clinician Leadership – Grassroots education and action from dentists are needed next steps, published by AEGIS Communications in Inside Dentistry (2). The article addresses the following matters of concern: the treaty’s permissive language regarding mercury amalgam use and disposal; mercury vapor exposure to patients and dental workers; mercury amalgam waste contamination of the environment; the dental clinician’s role as a leading stakeholder in choosing to continue, phasedown, or phaseout use of amalgam; and the dental professional’s ethical and legal duties to society. According to the authors, the future of global oral health and protection of the environment likely depends on clinical dentists’ leadership. John T. Contreras, D.D.S. is a CONEM member.

 

References

1. Mackey TK, Contreras JT, Liang BA. The Minamata Convention on Mercury: Attempting to address the global controversy of dental amalgam use and mercury waste disposal. Sci Total Environ 2013; 472C: 125-129. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.10.115.

2. Contreras JT, Mackey TK, Liang BA. Global amalgam governance: The need for clinician leadership. Grassroots education and action from dentists are needed next steps. Inside Dentistry 2014; 10 (1): 30-32. http://www.dentalaegis.com/id/2014/01 (13.1. 2014).

 

Mercury Rising

The Arctic is one of the regions of the world to which mercury is transported and accumulates in the food chain. The substance continues to be a threat to people and wildlife in the Arctic. A special issue is related to the increasing content of mercury in Arctic species such as polar bears, toothed whales and birds despite a reduction in anthropogenic emissions from Europe and North America.

Dental Mercury’s Toxic Journey Into The Environment

“Dental Mercury’s Toxic Journey Into The Environment” was narrated by Robert Lamarck and produced as a collaborative effort between the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, the website Mercury Exposure and the film You Put What In My Mouth? a documentary about the devastating effects of dental mercury on patients, staff and the environment.

MELISA® Testing for Diagnosis and Treatment of Metal-Induced Diseases (Lecture)

VeraVera Stejskal, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Immunology at University of Stockholm, Sweden. She is founder and preident of the MELISA® MEDICA Foundation, which is dedicated to the science of metal allergy and its diagnosis when treating chronic diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS /ME), multiple sclerosis (MS) or other autoimmune and allergic diseases. She is also a CONEM member.

The MELISA® test, invented by Dr. Stejskal, is the only scientifically-proven blood test which diagnoses metal allergy to multiple metals. Further test applications include the diagnosis of Lyme disease. In this lecture, Vera Stejskal talks about MELISA®  testing to diagnose and treat metal-induced diseases and conditions. The lecture was held in September 2008 at IAOMT Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Toxicity of Mercury and Its Relationship to Neurological Illnesses and Oxidative Stress (Lecture)

Boyd E. Haley, Ph.D. is professor emeritus and former chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky. He is president and CEO of CTI Science, a Lexington, Kentucky-based bio-technology firm. Haley is also a CONEM member. In this lecture, Professor Haley talks about mercury and other heavy metals, and their relationship to neurological illnesses (especially autism) and oxidative stress. The lecture was held in March 2010 at an IAOMT conference in Galloway, New Jersey.

The Role of Zinc and Copper in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Acta Neurobiol Exp 2013, 2Children with Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) appear to be at risk for zinc (Zn) deficiency, copper (Cu) toxicity, have often low Zn/Cu ratio, and often disturbed metallothionein (MT) system functioning. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that providing Zn to autistic children may be an important component of a treatment protocol, especially in children with Zn deficiency. It is important to monitor and follow the values for both Cu and Zn together during Zn therapy, because these two trace elements are both antagonists in function, and essential for living cells. 

The review article by Geir Bjørklund is published in Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis (2013; 73 (2): 225–236). This peer-reviewed journal is published by Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology in Warsaw, Poland. Bjørklund is founder and president of Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (CONEM).

 

Geir Bjørklund

The role of zinc and copper in autism spectrum disorders

Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars) 2013; 73 (2): 225-236 

 

ABSTRACT

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Several studies have suggested a disturbance in the copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) metabolism in ASDs. Zinc deficiency, excess Cu levels, and low Zn/Cu ratio are common in children diagnosed with an ASD. The literature also suggests that mercury accumulation may occur as a cause or consequence of metallothionein (MT) dysfunction in children diagnosed with an ASD, which may be one of the causes of Zn deficiency. MTs are proteins with important functions in metal metabolism and protection. Zinc and Cu bind to and participate in the control of the synthesis of MT proteins. Studies indicate that the GABAergic system may be involved in ASDs, and that Zn and Cu may play a role in this system.

 

Quecksilber: The Strange Story of Dental Amalgam (Video)

Video QuecksilberThis is an abbreviated version of “Quecksilber: The Strange Story of Dental Amalgam”, a documentary produced by Robert Gammal,  BDS. It was made for the lay person but is fully referenced, and appropriate for persons at all levels of knowledge. The documentary shows, visually and informatively, how no amount of mercury is safe in the body. Dr. Gammal is a CONEM member.

VIDEO: Gammal R. Quecksilber: The Strange Story of Dental Amalgam. www.quecksilber.net 

Letter To The Deans Of Dentistry

This is an open letter from  Robert Gammal, BDS (July 2011): “Dental students are the only students who are routinely poisoned by mercury, the third most toxic, non-radioactive substance known, without their knowledge or consent.  Only arsenic and lead are more toxic than mercury.  The consequences are horrific.” Dr. Gammal is secretary of the Australian Society of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (ASOMAT), and a CONEM member. Read The Letter