ADIA is the peak business organisation representing manufacturers and suppliers of dental products. Our vision is for an industry that empowers oral health professionals to advance the health and wellbeing of all Australians...................... — ADIA Strategic Plan

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ADIA Urges Australian Government To Ratify Minamata

ADIA Urges Australian Government To Ratify Minamata

6th Nov 18

Summary —

Given the impact that the Minamata Convention on Mercury has on the use of dental amalgam, its capture and storage, the Australian Government is facing renewed calls to expedite its ratification by the dental industry.

Key Issues For The Dental Industry —

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on mercury in Switzerland on 19 January 2013 and adopted later that year on 10 October 2013 at a diplomatic conference held in Japan.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury draws attention to a global and ubiquitous metal that, while naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects and is released into 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 Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Major highlights of the Minamata Convention on Mercury include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, the phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury, as well as health issues. It is in connection with these that the interests of the dental industry rest given that mercury used in dental amalgam, a common tooth restorative material. 

The Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA), the peak business organisation representing manufacturers and suppliers of innovative dental products, has stepped-up calls for the Australian Government to ratify the Convention.  ADIA’s advice to the Hon. Melissa Price MP, the Minister for the Environment, is that Australia is one of the last nations to take this step.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury entered into force on 16 August 2017, on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.  As at 6 November 2018 some 128 nations have signed the convention and 101 nations have ratified it – of significance is the fact that Australia is amongst the nations not to have ratified the convention.

The ADIA membership is taking a lead role in supporting dental professionals use alternatives to dental amalgam and also manage the capture, storage and recycling of existing dental amalgam fillings that are removed from patients.

Member engagement —

ADIA provides leadership, strategy, advocacy and support. Our members set our agenda, fund our activities, and directly benefit from the results.  With respect to issues associated with the use of dental amalgam members convened under the auspices of the ADIA Reference Group - Minamata Convention Ratification to provide advice and guidance to ADIA staff responsible for negotiating outcomes with the Australian Government, with updates provided at the quarterly ADIA State Branch Briefings.  

Further information —

 For further information on this matter please send an email to policy@adia.org.au or telephone 1300 943 094.  To keep up to date with all that's happening in Australia's dental industry following ADIA on Twitter at @AusDental and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dental.industry.

Currency & Disclaimer —

This update was issued on 6 November 2018 and please note that changes in circumstances after the publication of material or information may impact upon its accuracy and also change regulatory compliance obligations. The statements, regulatory and technical information contained herein are believed to be accurate and are provided for information purposes only. Readers are responsible for assessing its relevance and verifying the accuracy of the content. To the fullest extent permitted by law, ADIA will not be liable for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred in relation to or arising as a result of relying on the information presented here. 


This publication is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the ADIA logo, other images and where otherwise stated. 

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