We are in this fight against mercury fillings to win, so we take our battles everywhere -- not just to the courts and to the agencies.
This time, we head to the corporate boardroom of the #1 purveyor of toxic mercury fillings. On May 5 we will appear at the annual meeting of the Danaher corporation (which owns Kerr) to present and argue for a resolution calling on the corporation to transition out of manufacturing mercury fillings.
Getting to this point took most of a year. First, we sought out shareholders, and were delighted that several Catholic religious orders own Danaher stock in their pension plans and play a major role in trying to challenge corporate malfeasance. Next we obtained legal advice from securities counsel on how far a resolution could go, in light of barriers erected by the pro-corporate U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Then we presented the shareholder resolution to Danaher, who by law must allow a shareholder vote. So, armed with proxies (the document allowing us to vote shares of stock), we head to the meeting at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC.
Leading the charge will be Sister Valerie Heinonen of the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, a great friend of our movement. She is experienced in challenging corporate malfeasance. With Valerie’s guidance, I will present our resolution. (If you want to thank Sister Valerie, she’s at email@example.com)
The first time, we can't get a majority. But we will lay down the gauntlet, putting Danaher on notice that forces are building from all directions to send amalgam to the dustbins of history, and if they stick with amalgam their stock price could take a huge hit. Those forces include Wall Street itself, which is issuing reports intimating amalgam has no future for the investor community: see www.toxicteeth.org/mercuryfillings_BOAreport.cfm (Bank of America Securities says industry would be more profitable abandoning mercury fillings) and www.toxicteeth.org/jpmorgam-2008.pdf (J.P. Morgan says FDA is likely to put limits on use of mercury fillings when it issues its rule in 2009, a point I agree with).
In its written reply, Danaher says two-tiered dentistry is a good thing for lower-income Americans and institutional recipients. So our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who fight for this country just deserve mercury? How about hard-working Americans at the low-income level -- do their children just deserve mercury? We won’t let this contemptuous attitude toward our fellow Americans unchallenged; Valerie and I, plus a dentist we will invite, will respond on May 5.
As you know, our lawsuit meant that the Food and Drug Administration now advises that mercury fillings "may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses," www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/amalgams.html; Danaher/Kerr persist in selling its product, knowing full well that it is being implanted in children and pregnant women.
Potentially, folks, some of you could help. Do you or an acquaintance own Danaher stock? If so, we'd be delighted if you would join us, speak up, and vote. (You must bring proof of ownership, e.g., a ballot or stock certificate, to get into the room.) If you own Danaher stock and can't get to Washington, then please write me, and arrange to get me your proxy.
19 April 2009
Charles G. Brown, National Counsel
Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St., N.E., Suite 210 , Washington, DC 20002
Ph. 202.544-6333; fax 202.544-6331