Round two of the mercury treaty negotiations, held in Chiba Japan, was a success. Our umbrella coalition, the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry – “the voice of dental patients worldwide” – effectively countered the pro-mercury World Dental Federation (known under its French initials FDI), a lobby group funded by amalgam manufacturers.
We could not have done it without our sensational team – a depth of talent from five continents, including Dominique Bally of Cote d’Ivoire, Dr. Lillian Lasaten-Ebuen of the Philippines, Dr. Naji Kodeih of Lebanon, Dr. Graeme Munro-Hall of Great Britain, Juliet Pratt of New Zealand, Dr. Dave Simone of the United States, Anita Vazquez Tibau of the United States, and yours truly. Each spoke publicly on your behalf during the negotiations; each educated delegates at our booth and at meetings; each worked with United Nations Environmental Programme officials to develop strategies for stopping mercury fillings. We reached out to government officials from around the world, armed with diverse backgrounds ranging from injured consumers to dentists to environmentalists and multilingual talents spanning from Spanish to Tagalog to Arabic to Portuguese to French (not counting my fractured French, which is amusing to all except those who really speak French). And we achieved several major milestones:
- Our meeting kicked off with the announcement that the World Health Organization has withdrawn the biased paper that the American Dental Association so heavily cited as “reinforc[ing] dental amalgam as a safe and effective restorative material.”** The alleged WHO report had been passed off as the conclusions of the team of scientists, environmentalists, and dentists who met in November 2009 to discuss the future of amalgam. We exposed the paper as nothing more than a propaganda piece slapped together by a rogue dentist inside WHO who failed even to consult the other meeting participants before signing their names to his paper (needless to say they were furious; they did not remember ever declaring amalgam safe). Then, we organized the worldwide condemnation of this paper that led to its hurried retraction. You can learn how we accomplished this feat step-by-step by watching this video interview, courtesy of filmmaker Kelly Gallagher.***
- Because of our work, the first draft of the treaty lists amalgam as one of only five mercury products to be phased out. While the war is not won, we did succeed in keeping it on the list for now
- Thanks to the efforts of our regional vice presidents Dr. Naji Kodeih and Dominique Bally, both the Arab League and the African region announced that they support the phase-out of amalgam and the promotion of alternatives
- The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry welcomes Dr. Lillian LasatenEbuen as our new Vice President for East Asia. She joins Anita, Dominique, Juliet, Naji, and Marie Grosman of France as a regional leader at the treaty negotiations. Servando Perez of Spain remains our First Vice President, Elisabet Carlsson of Sweden is our senior advisor, and Francesca Romana Orlando of Italy is our director of development
But the bottom line: The delegates made no major decisions in this early round, not on amalgam, not on anything. Thus how amalgam will ultimately be addressed in this treaty will not be determined until the third negotiating session, to be held in an African city in October.
Until all the nations re-convene for negotiations, our World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry will be active in each region of the world. I will provide details as they emerge.–
Charlie G. Brown
President, World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry
National Counsel, Consumers for Dental Choice
February 15th 2011