The treaty, signed by a representative of the U.S. on November 6, is pending ratification and is subject to Senate approval. Many other countries signed the treaty in Minamata, Japan, in October; however, the U.S. was unable to do so due to the government shutdown.
Unlike other products the treaty addresses, the document places no restrictions on amalgam use. Instead, the treaty calls for signatory countries to set national objectives and implement programs aimed at dental caries prevention and health promotion.
The ADA also noted that it supports the treaty's call for more research into new dental treatment options.
The global treaty aims to limit mercury emissions to the environment and sets forth measures pertaining to the burning of coal, the largest single manmade source of mercury in the environment. The treaty also considered a number of other sources, such as small-scale gold mining and the chlor-alkali sector. Five products also were considered, including dental amalgam.
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