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Government of Nepal Bans Use of Mercury Dental Amalgam and Mercury-Based Equipment
The Center for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED) reports that, responding to the research-based campaign led by CEPHED, and in close coordination with all other concerned organizations and stakeholders, the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Population, Upendra Yadav of Nepal, has taken the very progressive decision to ban the use of mercury dental amalgam and mercury-based equipment in Nepal on 21 August, effectively moving Nepal towards Mercury-Free Dentistry and Health Care Services.
In line with different national, regional and global initiatives (including the United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury), and in consultation with concerned professional associations like the Nepal Dental Association (NDA), Nepal Medical Association (NMA), Universities (KU & TU), World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for Nepal, Academies of Health Sciences, Ministry of Forest and Environment (MOFE), NGOs and other concerned stakeholders, the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has taken the environment-and-health-friendly decision of banning the use of mercury dental amalgam in Nepal.
The decision includes:
A. Complete ban of the use of mercury dental amalgam in pregnant and breastfeeding women and children below 15 years.
B. Ban of the use of mercury dental amalgam in people of other age groups within five years of available alternatives.
C. Amendment of the curriculum (from the use of mercury dental amalgam itself) for institutions providing dental health education under universities and academies.
D. Ban of the uses of mercury dental amalgam in practical exercises.
The Government of Nepal, MoHP had already previously taken the decision of banning import, purchase and use of all kinds of mercury-based equipment from the health sectors of Nepal, effective since July 17, 2013. As a result, almost all health care facilities have shifted to mercury-free equipment like digital thermometers for taking temperatures and aneroid sphygmomanometers for blood pressure measurements.
The Nepal Dental Association (NDA), an umbrella organization of around 2,000 dental doctors working across the country, already adopted the policy of moving towards mercury-free dentistry by making a similar decision on 2nd March 2019.