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Restorative Dentistry Supporting Your Practice

What is the Impact of the Minamata Convention on Amalgam Use in Dentistry?

I had the pleasure to host Dr. Benoit Soucy, Director of Scientific Affairs at CDA. Dr. Soucy spoke about the impact of the Minamata Convention on the use of amalgam in dental restorations. Below, you will find more information on the Minamata Convention as well documentation pertinent to dentistry. 

If you have any questions about the Minamata Convention or the use of amalgam, please email us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca

Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager


  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.
  • The Convention draws attention to a global and ubiquitous metal that, while naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources. Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle has been a key factor in shaping the obligations under the Convention.
  • To date, the Convention has been ratified by 55 countries and signed by 128 countries, it will enter into force on the 16 August 2017 (in the ratifying countries), which is 90 days after the 50th ratification was received.
  • The Convention has profound implications for the practice of dentistry through its requirement to phase down the use of dental amalgam. Oral health professionals living in a country that has ratified the Convention need to be aware of the direct impact this will have on their profession.
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury Resource materials
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury – Text and Annexes




  1. Gottfried Schmalz July 6, 2017

    Dear Benoit,
    this was a very good statement. In the EU we have adopted the Minamata rules and more clearly defined them for dental amalgam. You find the text in the internet. Especially Art. 10 is important, but also Art. 19. Altogether, the restrictions on the use of amalgam can be handled, a major point is the requirement for amalgam separators. I personally support the installation of such devices, but there are some countries in Southern/Southeastern Europe, where this may cause some fnancial problems. We will see, how things develop.
    Best wishes

  2. Richard Price July 7, 2017

    Thank you for providing clarity on the Canadian position on dental amalgam. I still believe that amalgam is an excellent material restorative material and occasionally still recommend it to my patients. So it is good to know that its use will not be banned in Canada.
    However, according to an article written back in 2013 by the then ADEA President, Dr. Valachovicin, at the New York University College of Dentistry, less than 20% of the restorations placed in their dental clinic are amalgam, and this figure was declining. Apparently this trend ‘results largely from patient preferences and the belief that it is unethical to force amalgam on patients who don’t want it.’


    I believe that in 2017, the vast majority of dental offices in Canada will use very little amalgam and some dental manufacturers have already ceased production of dental amalgam, e.g. Coltene. Thus, despite being a good restorative material, dental amalgam may just fade away and die an ‘esthetic death.’ Consequently, we must focus our efforts on teaching how to use the restorative materials that the public wants. We also need to deal with all the amalgam restorations that already exist. Gottfried Schmalz makes a good point about the need for amalgam separators in dental offices, despite the financial burden.


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