The European Commission has published a draft legislation to phase out dental amalgam in 2025. The revision of the EU Mercury Regulation has been expected since December 2022 and includes a ban on mercury-containing lamps, effectively stoping all remaining intentional uses of mercury in the EU.

Since there are viable mercury-free alternatives, dental amalgam shall no longer be used for dental treatments of any member of the population from 1st January 2025. The proposal also includes a ban on its manufacture and export, making an important contribution to reducing mercury emissions internationally.

The use of dental amalgam for children under the age of 15, as well as breastfeeding and pregnant women, has already been banned in the EU since 2018.

Amalgam consists of 50% mercury, one of the world’s most toxic substances. Despite all precautions taken in dentistry, mercury inevitably enters the environment, where it transforms into the even more toxic form methylmercury and contributes to mercury accumulation in fish we eat.

Before the Commission’s proposal can take effect, it must be approved by the European Parliament and the Council. Given the delay, however, the Parliament will have to move fast to complete all the formalities  before the 2024 parliamentary elections.

This is a milestone. Finally we get a regulation for dental amalgam, the largest remaining use of mercury in Europe and a serious threat to health and the environment. In dentistry it is harmful to the health of both the patient and the operator.

Numerous countries, such as Sweden, Norway, Moldova, Lithuania, Switzerland, Bolivia, Ecuador, Indonesia, the Philippines or Zambia have already phased out the use of amalgam. Most recently, Poland had replaced amalgam with alternatives in the statutory health insurance.

Further Information:

EnvMed Network Position Paper on the European Commission’s Proposal for Phasing out Dental Amalgam by January 2025

News article, 14 July 2023, Directorate-General for Environment, “Zero Pollution: Commission proposes to ban all remaining intentional uses of mercury in the EU”

Global Overview of Countries Phasing Out Dental Amalgam