groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa)

MERCURY-FREE DENTISTRY PLAN RELEASED BY AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY

Durban, South Africa, 14 October 2015 – To celebrate Africa’s second annual Mercury-Free Dentistry Day which took place this Monday, groundWork [1] joined civil society across the continent by releasing a plan on how Africa can leapfrog into pollution-free dentistry.

Dental amalgam is 50% mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin. The pollution-free alternatives to dental amalgam are affordable, effective, and available. Led by the African Region, over 120 nations have signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which calls for an immediate scaling down of amalgam use.

Meeting in Nigeria in 2014, African NGOs adopted the Abuja Declaration for Mercury-Free Dentistry for Africa, now endorsed by 40 Civil Society Organizations.  Noting Africa’s ability to leapfrog steps that the West used in development, the Abuja Declaration states that Africa shall be first to end amalgam use.

Meeting in Côte d’Ivoire in 2015, francophone NGOs adopted “The Abidjan Plan to Implement the Abuja Declaration,” a common-sense set of steps to change dental school curriculum, provide consumers and parents with information about their choices in the dental office, and change government policies to favor mercury-free dentistry.  The Abidjan Plan is being released to celebrate Mercury-Free Dentistry Day for Africa [2].

Rico Euripidou, Environmental Health Campaigner at groundWork said: 

“Mercury-free dentistry protects our people and our environment’s health.  With the Abidjan Plan to implement the Abuja Declaration, we will reduce the mercury in fish that our children eat.  We will protect the health of dental workers who are breathing toxic mercury vapors.  We will work hand-in-hand with the dentists of our great nation to leapfrog the technology into 21st century dentistry for Africa.  We will expand oral health care for children.”

FOOTNOTES

[1] groundWork is an environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa, and increasingly Southern Africa, on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Coal, Climate and Energy Justice, Waste and Environmental Health. groundWork is the South African member of Friends of the Earth International.
[2] Download the Fact sheet on the Abidjan Plan here.

CONTACTS

Megan Lewis
groundWork: Media, Information and Publications Officer
Tel (w): +27 (0) 33 342 5662
Mobile: +27 (0) 83 450 5541
Email: megan@groundwork.org.za

Rico Euripidou
groundWork: Environmental Health Campaigner
Tel (w): +27 (0) 33 342 5662
Mobile: +27 (0) 83 519 3008
Email: rico@groundwork.org.za