Federal Government

Mercury in Dental Filling Disclosure and Prohibition Act of 2003
(Introduced in the House)

HR 1680 IH
108th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 1680
To prohibit after 2008 the introduction into interstate commerce of mercury intended for use in a dental filling, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APRIL 8, 2003
Ms. WATSON (for herself and Mr. BURTON of Indiana) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

A BILL
To prohibit after 2008 the introduction into interstate commerce of mercury intended for use in a dental filling, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Mercury in Dental Filling Disclosure and Prohibition Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds as follows:

  1. Mercury is a highly toxic element.
  2. A dental amalgam, commonly referred to as a `silver filling', consists of 43 to 54 percent mercury.
  3. Consumers may be deceived by the use of the term 'silver' to describe a dental amalgam, which contains substantially more mercury than silver.
  4. Dental amalgam may contain about 1/2 to 3/4 of a gram of mercury, depending on the size of the filling.
  5. The mercury in a dental amalgam continually emits mercury vapors.
  6. Mercury toxicity is a retention toxicity that builds up over years of exposure.
  7. The California Dental Association, by court order, is sending health warnings about mercury fillings to California dental offices for posting by March 9, 2003. The warnings are to read `NOTICE TO PATIENTS: PROPOSITION 65 WARNING: Dental Amalgam, used in many dental fillings, causes exposure to mercury, a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm'.
  8. According to certain scientific studies, Health Canada, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services, children and pregnant women are at particular risk for exposure to mercury contained in dental amalgam.
  9. The United States Food and Drug Administration added Health Canada warnings regarding mercury in dental amalgam to a consumer update issued on December 31, 2002.
  10. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the mercury from amalgam goes through the placenta of pregnant women and through the breast milk of lactating women, giving rise to health risks to an unborn child or a baby.
  11. The Environmental Protection Agency considers removed amalgam filling and extracted teeth containing amalgam material to be hazardous waste.
  12. A report issued June 5, 2002, by the Mercury Policy Project, the Sierra Club, Health Care Without Harm, and the Toxics Action Center stated that because of mercury fillings dental offices are now the leading source of mercury in the Nation's wastewater.
  13. The use of mercury in any product being put into the body is opposed by many health groups, such as the American Public Health Association, the California Medical Association, and Health Care Without Harm.
  14. Consumers and parents have a right to know, in advance, the risks of placing a product containing a substantial amount of mercury in their mouths or the mouths of their children.
  15. Alternatives to mercury-based dental fillings exist, but many publicly and privately financed health plans do not allow consumers to choose alternatives to mercury amalgam.


SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON INTRODUCTION OF DENTAL AMALGAM INTO INTERSTATE COMMERCE.

(a) PROHIBITION- Section 501 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 351) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`(j) Effective January 1, 2008, if it contains mercury intended for use in a dental filling.'.

(b) TRANSITIONAL PROVISION- For purposes of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.), effective December 31, 2004, and subject to subsection (a), a device that contains mercury intended for use in a dental filling shall be considered to be misbranded, unless it bears a label that provides as follows: `Dental amalgam contains approximately 50 percent mercury, a highly toxic element. Such product should not be administered to children less than 18 years of age, pregnant women, or lactating women. Such product should not be administered to any consumer without a warning that the product contains mercury, which is a highly toxic element, and therefore poses health risks.'.

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