The Guest Blog

Guest blog post by EurEau.

Mercury originating from the natural daily erosion of amalgam fillings in teeth is now the biggest source of mercury entering urban waste water.

Overall, this accounts to about 50% of the total mercury in the urban waste water of Stockholm and consequently also 50% of the total mercury content in the city’s sludge and discharge of waste water[1]. Mercury from the daily erosion of amalgam in teeth is by far the single biggest source of mercury in the urban waste water in Sweden. The same trend can be expected in many other Member States.

The European Commission’s current proposal on the Mercury Regulation is the perfect opportunity to impose a ban on the use of dental amalgam since better alternatives exist. Mercury separators at dental care clinics just take care of a smaller part of the mercury leakage into the environment.

Banning the use of dental amalgam will, over a few decades, significantly reduce the amount of mercury entering our waste water treatment plants and will result in many tonnes less mercury in the European waters, less mercury in biota in water organisms and higher quality sludge as a an important source of nutrients in a true circular economy.

We want a date to be set for implementing the ban on using dental amalgam, since very good alternatives to dental amalgam exist and the ban has already been imposed in several Member States.

It will also save water plant operators and therefore consumers €120 million annually if the ban is imposed.

EurEau believes it is time to take long term action on the continuous flow of mercury from dental amalgam to waste water treatment plants and further into the circular flow of water and nutrients by introducing an end-date on the use of dental amalgam now.

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU have the opportunity to improve the European Commission proposal. On Tuesday we hope to see ambitious ENVI Committee MEPs’ positions during the debate that will consider the Rapporteur’s report on the Mercury Regulation.

With 85% of respondents in the public consultation favouring a ban we can definitely assert that the public is behind this.[2] Act!

[1] Sörme Lindqvist Söderberg 2003.

[2] European Commission impact assessment, pg 156.

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