State Update

Dental Amalgam Bills Filed in Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont

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On November 14, Delegate Alfred C. Carr, Jr. (D-MD) pre-filed H.B. 47. The bill requires the Department of the Environment to create a fact sheet on dental amalgam on or before January 1, 2015. According to the bill, the fact sheet must contain the following information (this list is not exhaustive): dental amalgam’s effect on the environment can have an impact on the costs of government and taxes paid by the public; alternatives to dental amalgam exist that do not pollute Maryland’s environment; and ask your dentist about the alternatives to dental amalgam that are best for you and your family. The bill also requires the Department of the Environment to make a reasonable effort to distribute the dental amalgam fact sheet to the public and post the dental amalgam fact sheet on its website. The bill was referred to the House Environmental Matters Committee for consideration, but according to the committee clerk, the bill was withdrawn from further consideration on February 6 by the bill sponsor.     

On February 7, Delegate Carr filed H.B. 1254. The bill requires that a manufacturer or wholesaler of dental amalgam must: 1) submit a plan to the Department of the Environment (department) to reduce the use of dental amalgam in the state; and 2) publish the plan on its web site. Also, the bill prohibits a manufacturer or wholesaler from selling or offering for sale dental amalgam unless the manufacturer or wholesaler has submitted and published a plan in accordance with specific language in the bill. Additionally, beginning March 30, 2015, and annually thereafter until dental amalgam is no longer used in the state, a manufacturer or wholesaler must submit a report to the department identifying the amount of mercury in dental amalgam that was sold in the state during the previous year. The bill has been referred to the House Environmental Matters Committee for consideration.

Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo (D-NJ) has filed A. 345. The bill directs the Division of Consumer Affairs to develop an informational brochure that explains the potential advantages and disadvantages of using dental amalgam in dental procedures, and requires dentists to distribute the brochure to patients and offer composite alternatives. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee for consideration.

Rep. Tony Klein (D-VT) has sponsored H. 734. The overall purpose of the bill is to adopt as the state policy of Vermont the commitment of the United States to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury and take steps to phase down dental amalgam use in the state. Specifically, according to the bill text, by September 30, 2015, manufacturers or wholesalers of dental amalgam who do business in Vermont shall submit to the Secretary of Natural Resources a plan to phase down dental amalgam use in the state. Additionally, beginning March 30, 2016, and annually thereafter, until dental amalgam is no longer used, a manufacturer of dental amalgam who sells dental amalgam in Vermont shall report to the secretary the amount of mercury in dental amalgam sold by the manufacturer in the state in the previous calendar year. The secretary shall post the information received under this subsection on the Agency of Natural Resources website. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy for consideration.