Amalgam mercury use declining in U.S.

Mercury sold in the U.S. for amalgam restorations declined by almost half from 2004 to 2007, according to a report by the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse.

In 2001, the country bought 61,537 lb of mercury in amalgam. In 2004, the total amount declined to 60,781 lb, then dropped sharply to 32,959 lb in 2007, according to the report.

"Increased consumer awareness of mercury use in fillings may drive future declines in mercury amalgam use," the report stated. "However, nonmercury fillings are more expensive, which can affect the preferences of patients for dental restorative materials."

The information is based on reports that dental supply companies make to states as part of a coalition that is working to reduce all uses of mercury. The states include Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The companies surveyed were Dentsply Caulk, Goldsmith and Revere, Ivoclar Vivadent, Kerr Dental, and SDI.

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