Over the past decade, the use of amalgam has declined because of a decrease in dental caries and improvement in alternative materials. Nevertheless, dental amalgam continues to play an important role in the dental restorative process. Recently, a number of public health concerns regarding mercury in dental amalgam have been raised. Although no controlled clinical studies have shown adverse human health consequences associated with chronic low-dose exposure to mercury, public concern has been seen. For example, in a 1991 survey commissioned by the American Dental Association, 20 percent of those responding had considered having their amalgam restorations removed or had actually had them removed because of concern over the potential health risks. The lack of a definitive educational initiative by Federal health agencies may be a contributory factor in the anxiety experienced by the public.

The CCEHRP Subcommittee on Risk Management charged the Education Work Group to consider whether new consumer and professional educational efforts were needed. The Work Group reached the following conclusions:

For a detailed discussion of these recommendations and their rationale, see the Education Work Group report (Appendix V).

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