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IAOMT Assists in UN Treaty to Phase-down Toxic Mercury

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Freya Koss, publicist, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
Phone:  office- (610) 649-2606, cell- (267) 290-7685

IAOMT Assists in UN Treaty to Phase-down Toxic Mercury

Champion’s Gate, FL [October 1, 2013] –History will be made when governments from around the world sign the “Minamata Convention on Mercury” with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) next week.  Members of the Florida-based International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) participated in the negotiations for this legally-binding treaty to prevent global releases of mercury, and IAOMT representatives will be on-site in Japan to take part in the monumental event.

Delegates representing the governments of over 140 nations agreed upon the text of the “Minamata Convention on Mercury” in January 2013, and the treaty sets guidelines and regulations to reduce releases caused by mercury’s use in gold mining, coal-fired power, thermometers, light bulbs, dental amalgam, and other products and processes.

The UNEP treaty is named for the victims of Minamata Bay, Japan, where thousands of adults and children were afflicted with horrendous, life-threatening symptoms of mercury poisoning after the Chisso Corporation’s industrial dumping of mercury waste resulted in the toxic contamination of the bay.

Mercury is a neurotoxin and is known to harm the human brain, kidneys, digestive system, and other functions, as well as particularly endangering the health of children. Many consumers are not aware that amalgam tooth restorations, often called “silver fillings,” contain approximately 50% mercury and that dental mercury accounts for 10% (340 tons+) of global mercury emissions.

The provisions about dental mercury in the “Minamata Convention on Mercury” include “promoting the use of available and effective mercuryfree dental filling alternatives, educating consumers and training dental professionals and students on the use of mercuryfree dental filling alternatives, discouraging insurance policies, programmes and mandates that favour dental amalgam use over mercuryfree dental filling alternatives, and discouraging the use of dental amalgam in children, pregnant women and other sensitive populations.”

Griffin Cole, DDS and President of the IAOMT, will be at the signing of the Minamata Treaty, and he explained: “This landmark agreement unites the nations of the globe in a significant collaboration to reduce the use of mercury.  It is an honor for the IAOMT to have been involved with the negotiations that led to this treaty and especially meaningful because our Academy has worked for 30 years to end the use of dental mercury.  We recognize the harm mercury causes people and the environment, and we regard the signing of this treaty as the promise of a safer and healthier future for the world.”

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The IAOMT is a non-profit organization that has worked to end the use of mercury in dentistry since 1984.  The membership of the IAOMT includes dentists, physicians, and research professionals in over fourteen countries, in addition to those serving on IAOMT’s Scientific Advisory Board, which is currently comprised of world leaders in biochemistry, toxicology, and environmental medicine.

Over the years, the IAOMT has been dedicated to educating medical professionals and consumers about the risks of dental amalgam, examining scientific research about the biocompatibility of dental materials, and petitioning governmental and health authorities to end the use of amalgam.  Notably, the IAOMT filed a Petition for Reconsideration about dental amalgam with the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2009.

Inspired by the Minamata Convention on Mercury’s call for mercury-free dental education, the IAOMT has also developed a Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) to assist health professionals in any country who would like to learn techniques and safe practices for phasing out mercury in dental practices.  Led by international advocate Anita Vazquez-Tibau, IAOMT has already planned a two-day TAP workshop in Rio de Janeiro with Brazilian Association of Odontology (ABO-RJ) President Paulo Murilo.

Tibau summarized the importance of Minamata Convention on Mercury and IAOMT’s educational initiative: “As the global movement to end mercury use intensifies, the health of humans and the environment will continue to be preserved through international partnerships and educational programs like the TAP.”

Tibau will be joining IAOMT President Dr. Griffin Cole in Japan for the treaty signing, along with other IAOMT representatives, including Alan Tanisawa, DDS, an IAOMT dentist of Japanese descent.

Video updates from the Minamata Convention on Mercury will be provided at www.iaomt.org.  The updates will be posted by film-maker Randall Moore, who is creating a documentary entitled You Put What in my Mouth? about the hazards of dental mercury.

*Please contact us immediately if you are interested in this story, and we will hold the release from being distributed to other news outlets.   Note that we can also arrange exclusive interviews with Dr. Griffin Cole, President of the IAOMT, and others attending the event.

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