In honor of Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, I have invited colleagues to tell how the mercury-free dentistry movement is changing the world. Below is a message from Dr. Jessica Saepoff, DDS, a former member of Washington state’s dental board.
~ Charlie Brown, Consumers for Dental Choice
I am a mercury-free dentist and a former state dental board member, serving for eight years as a Commissioner of the Washington state Dental Quality Assurance Commission.
In the 1990s, there were very few of us mercury-free dentists. Invoking the notorious (and unconstitutional) “gag rule” that ordered dentists to be silent about amalgam’s mercury, dental boards in many states tried to squelch us. Those of us who continued to speak up were in legal peril.
Then along came Consumers for Dental Choice, led by Charlie Brown. Combining legal, policy, and strategy skills, they defeated the gag rule, changed dental board regulation – expanding the movement for mercury-free dentistry exponentially.
In Washington State, our movement for mercury-free dentistry had reached such importance by 2005 that Governor Christine Gregoire sought out a mercury-free dentist as her first appointee to the dental board, and I was fortunate to be appointed, then 4 years later re-appointed. In other states too – Alaska, Minnesota, California – mercury-free dentists were appointed to the dental boards. With Charlie in the lead, our cause was no longer on the outside looking in!
After working state-by-state, Charlie and his team went national, and then international. Thanks to their tough campaign, the new Minamata Convention on Mercury requires nations to tackle the use of mercury fillings! Now Consumers for Dental Choice has log-rolled the momentum from this treaty into positive media attention, ever-expanding support, and government action back here in the United States.
The writings of Dr. Mercola and the work of Consumers for Dental Choice educate the public about the importance of choosing a mercury-free dentist – to protect patient health, keep a safe workplace, and reduce mercury in the environment. Let’s keep the campaign for mercury-free dentistry going....
Jessica P. Saepoff, DDS