MANILA, Philippines — In line with the goals of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, the Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III signed DOH Administrative Order No. 2020-0020 “Guidelines on the Phase-Out of Mercury Use in Dental Restorative Procedures”.
In a post by the Philippine Information Agency, they said that the Administrative Order provides a comprehensive policy in the elimination of Dental Amalgam in the country and sets forth guidelines governing the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of dental amalgam, and establishes health and safety guidelines in the handling, use, storage and disposal of dental amalgams among dental workers and students, and patients. The Order also aims to raise awareness on alternative dental restorative materials and identify several measures to strengthen the advocacy on dental caries prevention and oral health.
Under this policy, the use of dental amalgam as a filling material to treat dental decay will no longer be allowed after the phase-out period of three years after the order takes effect.
Furthermore, the directive bans the importation of liquid mercury and bans the use of the material as a dental filling for children 14 years old and below, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
“The global community lauds the steps taken by Secretary Duque and the Department of Health for this visionary order that will protect the lives and health of so many Filipino children”Charlie brown, president of the world alliance for mercury free-dentistry
Several environmental and health groups lauded the DOH for phasing out dental amalgam.
“We look forward to a new day in our country, as the Philippine dental community, finally closes the chapter on dental amalgam, and embraces toxics-free alternatives”Dr. lillian ebuen, founder of the international academy of oral medicine and technology, philippines
Dental amalgam is one of the most versatile restorative materials used in the field of Dentistry. Research says that it constitutes approximately 75% of all restorative materials used by dentists and has been used as a dental material for more than 150 years.
According to the USFDA, Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of a silver-tin-copper alloy and liquid (elemental mercury). Amalgam has a mercury-alloy ratio specific to each product but generally less than 1:1 so that amalgam contains 43% to 50% mercury. It releases low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs. Thus, high levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidneys.