ADA backs APHA amalgam safety policy

The ADA has announced its support for the American Public Health Association's (APHA) recent policy statement affirming that dental amalgam is safe and effective in treating dental cavities.

According to the APHA, amalgam's contribution to environmental mercury contamination is minimal, and limiting or curtailing its availability could have negative health consequences, particularly in low-income areas.

"As the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world, APHA's credibility in matters concerning public health is unmatched," said ADA President Robert Faiella, DMD, MMSc, in a press release. "That's why this latest policy statement is particularly significant."

The ADA agrees with the conclusions found in the APHA's interim policy, made official October 30, including its recommendation that dental educational institutions and programs continue to incorporate training in the handling of dental amalgam into their curricula, and that local regulatory agencies work with dental professionals to implement best practices for the handling and disposal of amalgam. The ADA has developed best practices for the handling of amalgam waste and supports the use of amalgam separators in the dental office setting.

"The science available to us overwhelmingly supports the safety and efficacy of dental amalgam, and it should continue to be made available to dentists and their patients," Dr. Faiella said.

The ADA also stressed the need for preventive measures as more effective and less expensive than surgical intervention in dealing with oral disease.

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