ISLAMABAD: The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has immediately restricted the use of mercury dental fillings for children below 15 throughout the province to protect them from catching serious diseases. KP Health Services Directorate General, in its notification dated July 10, 2018 and addressed to all district health officers, medical superintendents, Khyber College of Dentistry dean and quarters concerned says, “All health workers in the dentistry unit of KP are requested to restrict and do not prefer mercury dental fillings for children below the age of 15 years in KP to safeguard their health at their very early age with immediate effect.” The action has been taken in the backdrop of a research-based campaign launched by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in print and social media throughout the country to ban or restrict the use of mercury dental amalgam, especially for children to safeguard their health. SDPI has warmly welcomed the provincial government’s initiative to safeguard children’s health, at their very early age. “We are confident that the step taken in the very right direction would go a long way in phasing out dental mercury amalgam use not only in Pakistan but also in our neighbouring countries,” SDPI Senior Adviser on Chemicals Dr Mahmood Khawaja said. Mercury is a toxic substance and its use in all silver-coloured dental fillings has been linked to environmental harm, as well as increased risks of Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, infertility, anxiety, depression, fatigue and many other adverse health conditions. The use of viable mercury free alternatives for dental fillings is rapidly on the increase in many countries, including Pakistan. Children are more vulnerable to this substance as its use causes neurological and reproductive problems, and damages kidneys and features. To protect human health and environment from emission of mercury and mercury compounds, global governments adopted Minamata convention on mercury to which more than 128 countries including Pakistan have signed and 93 countries have also ratified the convention. Published in Daily Times, July 14th 2018.