Mercury: Parliament adopts law to phase out the use of dental amalgam 

Notas de prensa 
 
 

Compartir esta página: 

  • Dental amalgam must no longer be used by 1 January 2025 
  • A derogation until 30 June 2026 will be possible to avoid negative repercussions for low-income individuals 
  • 40 tonnes of mercury is still used in the EU annually for dental amalgam 

The revision of the Mercury Regulation aims to establish a mercury-free Europe to protect EU citizens and the environment from toxic mercury.

Parliament on Wednesday adopted the provisional political agreement with EU countries on the Commission’s proposal to address the remaining uses of mercury in products in the EU in line with commitments set out in the EU’s Zero Pollution Ambition with 575 votes in favour, 12 against and 38 abstentions.

In spite of viable mercury-free alternatives, around 40 tonnes of mercury is still used in the EU annually for dental amalgam as current rules only forbid the use of dental amalgam for treating teeth in children under 15 years old as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women.

The new law will phase out the use of dental amalgam in the EU by 1 January 2025 except if deemed strictly necessary by the dental practitioner based on the duly justified specific medical needs of the patient.

EU countries that have not yet adjusted their reimbursement system to cover alternatives, may postpone the phase-out up until 30 June 2026, to avoid negative repercussions for low-income individuals that would otherwise be socio-economically disproportionally affected by the phase-out.

The export of dental amalgam will also be prohibited from 1 January 2025, whereas the manufacturing and import into the EU will be banned from 1 July 2026.

Quote

After the vote, rapporteur Marlene Mortler (EPP, Germany) said: “This is an important step towards a mercury-free future. I am very pleased that we have ensured that dental amalgam may only be used in medically necessary cases. The exemption to some EU countries to mitigate the socio-economic consequences of the amalgam phase-out will ensure that low-income EU citizens will still be able to afford adequate dental treatment. I am also happy about the decision to ban export of lamps containing mercury to countries outside the EU from July 2026 as this will ensure that products already banned in the EU are not sold to non-EU countries with environmentally harmful consequences there."

Next steps

The law now also has to be adopted by Council, before being published in the EU Official Journal and entering into force 20 days later.

Background

Mercury is a highly toxic chemical which represents threats to human health as well as to the environment. When released into the environment, it enters the food chain where it accumulates, in particular in fish. Exposure to high levels of mercury can cause harm to the brain, lungs, kidneys and the immune system.