Ireland, The Czech Republic, Finland, and Slovakia have introduced provisions for a complete phase-out of dental amalgam – i.e. mercury (“silver”) fillings. This commitment forms part of their national action plans to reduce the use of dental amalgam – as required by the EU Mercury Regulation, which was adopted in May 2017 to phase out mercury use.
In force since 1 January 2018, the EU Mercury regulation mandates important time-bound restrictions for Member States’ use and disposal of amalgam in dental practice. The Regulation supports Member States' progress towards the ultimate goal of a dental amalgam phase-out in the EU. By 1 July 2019, each Member State was required to have set out a national action plan on measures to phase down the use of dental amalgam – these action plans were required to be publicly available within one month of their adoption (i.e. at the beginning of August 2019).
To follow the implementation of this important regulation, earlier this year HCWH Europe released a series of interactive maps to monitor Member States’ progress. This EU Mercury Regulation tracker has now been updated and maps which EU Member States have met the requirements to publish a national action plan, phase-out dental amalgam use in vulnerable groups, and enforce the mandatory use of amalgam separators to remove amalgam particles from dental waste.
The tracking tool also includes information on which EU Member States promote a phase-down by replacing amalgam with alternatives in national health insurance schemes Member States.
Dental amalgam in dentistry represents the largest use of mercury in the European Union and is a significant source of pollution with consequences for environmental and human health. The EU Mercury Regulation is not only an important step to reduce exposure to mercury; it mandates the European Commission to produce a feasibility report and potentially a subsequent legislative proposal for a long-term phase-out of dental amalgam.
HCWH Europe produced a briefing paper in early 2019: Developing national plans for phasing out dental mercury, which features best practice case studies of phasing down dental amalgam and recommendations for EU Member States to consider while developing their national plans. This briefing paper highlights that Member States are encouraged to consider a complete phase-out of dental amalgam in their national action plan.
In recognition of the potential for a full phase-out, Ireland, The Czech Republic, Finland, and Slovakia have already included provisions within their national action plans to completely remove amalgam from dental practice and should be commended for their ambition and progressive action to reduce mercury exposure.
The EU Mercury Regulation tracker is a publicly available tool that illustrates Member States’ compliance and efforts to reduce and remove mercury in dentistry. This tool serves as a source of best practice and a catalyst for policy development in Member States continuing to use dental amalgam extensively.
HCWH Europe welcomes contributions from relevant stakeholders to help reflect the current regulatory status as accurately as possible. If you have any questions or would like to provide data or other relevant information, please contact our Chemicals Policy and Projects Officer - Dorota Napierska.