Press Releases: 05.07.03

May 7, 2003
CONTACT: Charles Brown, National Counsel, Freya Koss, Director of Development 
Consumers for Dental Choice
Coalition to Abolish Mercury Dental Fillings 
1725 K Street N.W., Suite 511, Washington, DC 20006
(202) 822-6307. 
E-Mail: brownchas@erols.combobbi@toxicteeth.org

Website: www.toxicteeth.org


"Expert demands amalgam ban." On May 8, the Government Sub-committee on Human Rights and Wellness will hear the testimony of Maths Berlin, Swedish professor emeritus in environmental medicine. The former World Health Organization expert joins leading US scientists whose research unequivocally support Berlin's contention that "The safety margin that scientists thought existed regarding health damage from amalgam does not exist." Representatives Dan Burton (R-IN), and Diane Watson (D-CA) will hold the second congressional hearing on the health hazards of mercury and the need for full patient disclosure in dentistry. Thursday, May 8, 2:00 p.m., room 2154 Rayburn House Building.

Unlike the United States, the Swedish government has recognized the adverse health effects of mercury in dental amalgam, and in 2002 initiated a new evaluation of dental materials and how patients with amalgams fared in the health care system. A safety evaluation of dental amalgam published on April 25, 2003 was based on the findings of the government's Dental Materials Study. Berlin, one of the primary researchers, concluded after evaluating the risks of amalgam:

"I think that amalgam as soon as possible should be banned in the whole European Union. Every medical doctor and dentist should consider whether mercury from amalgam could be a contributing factor when they meet patients with unclear diseases and diseases which involve the immune system."

Amalgam Fillings are composed of more than 50% mercury, the second most toxic non-radioactive element on the face of this earth besides plutonium. Mercury in amalgam dental fillings has been scientifically linked to neurological illnesses including Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Depression, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's Disease. However, the Food and Drug Administration issues warnings only about mercury in fish and only to pregnant women and children. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that mercury constantly leaches from amalgam fillings, entering every part of the body including the brain, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research funds the "Children's Amalgam Study" - a study which places mercury in the teeth of young children and tests them for evidence of psychological and neurological injury.

Testifying on the panel are expert scientists who strongly object to the validity and ethics of such studies. This first panel includes Dr. Boyd Haley, PhD, Chairman of the Chemistry Department, University of Kentucky and Dr. Fritz Lorscheider, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Medical Physiology & Biophysics University of Calgary. Both corroborate Berlin's finding that "Mercury is a multipotent poison with effects on several levels of cell function and therefore unsuitable as a dental filling material." Berlin definitively states that "regarding the risk for retardation of brain development it is not according to science and standard of care to place amalgam fillings in children and fertile women." It has been proven that mercury in a pregnant woman's teeth passes through the placenta damaging the developing fetal brain. Fred Eichmiller, DDS, Director of the American Dental Association Health Foundation, Paffenbarger Research Center, National Bureau of Standards & Technology, will offer testimony claiming that "mercury amalgams are safe" - the longtime stance of the ADA.

Staunch proponents for the abolition of mercury in dentistry and for mandatory informed consent, Congressman Dan Burton, Chairman of the sub-committee and minority ranking member, Congresswoman, Diane Watson, have re-introduced H.B.4163 - now H.B. 1680, the Mercury in Dental Fillings Disclosure and Prohibition Act. If passed, the bill will ban mercury fillings at the end of 2007, and calls for an immediate stop to the use of amalgams for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers and provides strong health warnings immediately.

Testifying on the second panel are: Congressman Michael Michaud (ME-02), who introduced L.D. 1409, An Act to Address the Health Effects of Mercury Fillings requiring informed patient consent and notice to all dental patients of the mercury content in amalgam; Chester Yokoyama, DDS, first mercury free dentist on the California Dental Board; Sandy Duffy, Esq., of Portland, Ore., who enlisted the ACLU to abolish the gag rule in Oregon and Iowa; and Emmitt Carlton, past president of the Virginia NAACP, who will speak about ending Medicaid policies that deny choice to the poor and instead force low-income children to have mercury fillings. The NAACP has endorsed the Watson-Burton bill.

As the word spreads across the states, bills have been passed in California, Maine, and New Hampshire; introduced in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, and Oregon, and legislative hearings this year in Arizona, California, Washington, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Also, restrictions have been mandated on dental boards to prevent the "Gag Act" Oregon, Iowa and Florida.

Consumers for Dental Choice and the Coalition to Abolish Mercury Dental Fillings are non-profit organizations working to protect the health of dental consumers and to protect the environment by abolishing the use of mercury amalgam dental fillings. For additional information: www.toxicteeth.org, phone: (202) 822-6307.

**Maths Berlin quotes:

Swedish newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" - "Amalgam hazard underestimated," April 26, 2003

**The risk evaluation (in Swedish) can be found at www.dentalmaterial.gov.se

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