Australia becomes ratified Party to Minamata Convention on Mercury

In a landmark move last month, Australia deposited its Instrument of Ratification for the Minamata Convention on Mercury with the United Nations, officially making it a ratified party to the treaty which will come into force for Australia on 7 March 2022.

This development follows the signing of the Convention in 2013 which set in train a considerable amount of work by the Australian Minamata Convention Team involving consultation, regulation impact analyses and the undertaking of cost benefit analyses.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty that is dedicated to protecting “human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury” which, “while naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects [such as in dentistry] and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources.”

137 countries are now ratified parties to the treaty, including Australia, which “also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.”

The ADA has contributed to the convention over many years through extended discussions with the Australian Government and our participation in policy discussions at FDI and we believe this is a good outcome for dentistry.

Further information is available via Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and via this 1-minute video.

The ADA provides information on the use of mercury in dentistry via the Recommendations on dental mercury hygiene and ADA Guidelines for Dental Mercury Hygiene

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