The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday announced plans to phase out the use of mercury because of its effect on the environment.
Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam who spoke in Abuja at a Stakeholder Forum on Phasing Down Dental Amalgam with the theme: “Nigeria: towards a mercury free dentistry”, said mercury pollutes the environment and disrupts the ecosystem.
She also said the use of dental amalgam, a substance used in filling decayed teeth was hazardous to human health. Mallum who was represented by the Acting Director, Pollution Control, and Environmental Health, Mr. Kasimu Bayero, said government would look for other measures that are effective, environmentally friendly, and non hazardous to human health.
She said: “The Federal Ministry of Environment has put in place measures for managing mercury issues in Nigeria among which are the phase down of dental amalgam. The 2013 Minamata Convention contains provision to address growing problems of mercury issues in dentistry such as dental amalgam.
“Mercury is one of the most poisonous elements on earth. It aggravates the environment and disrupts the ecosystem. It has significant effects on human health and the environment. The environment and health of our country remains the main concern.
The Executive Director Development and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev Nigeria), Leslie Adogame explained that mercury is a toxic substance of global concern that causes significant harm to human health, wildlife and ecosystems.
He cautioned that exposure to mercury could be harmful to pregnant women and lactating mothers who expose children to mercury during breast feeding.
Adogame said: “Parental and infant mercury exposure can cause mental retardation, cerebral palsy, deafness, and blindness. Even in low doses, mercury may affect a child’s development, delaying walking and talking and causing learning disabilities.”
“In adults, mercury poisoning can adversely affect fertility and blood pressure regulation and can cause memory loss, tremors, vision loss, numbness of the fingers and toes. A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to mercury may also lead to heart disease.”
“Improper disposal of these mercury wastes contaminates the environment locally, downstream and globally.”
I wonder why a country like the Untied States, with all its advanced medical and environmental knowledge can’t see this danger and act on banning mercury fillings?