Press Releases: 10.04.05


Further Information:
Consumers for Dental Choice 
Office: 202-822-6309

Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2005 – As part of National Mercury Amalgam Awareness Week, Consumers for Dental Choice is sponsoring a Mercury Vapor Testing Day this Friday, October 7, to enhance the public’s awareness of the potential toxicity of amalgam dental fillings, which continually emit mercury vapor and which few people even know contain this toxic substance.

A recent Zogby poll of Connecticut voters conducted for Consumers for Dental Choice, found that fewer than half of people surveyed could answer affirmatively when asked if amalgam fillings contained mercury.

Most people know that eating fish can expose them to levels of mercury that could pose a health risk, but an equal or greater source of mercury that is little known is just under their noses – in their mouth. Amalgam fillings, deceptively called “silver”, are really 50% mercury and are a “major source of exposure” to this toxic metal according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization says this exposure is “greater than all other sources combined,” including fish.

“Mercury Vapor Testing Day offers passersby a neat opportunity to see that their amalgam fillings release quantifiable amounts of mercury,” said Charles Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice.

"Mercury is an acute toxic substance.  Its use has been phased out of vaccines, disinfectants, contact lens solutions, and thermometers.  Despite the public's growing awareness of the dangers of mercury, most remain unaware that dental amalgam commonly used by dentists to fill cavities contains significant amounts of mercury.  In fact, dental offices are now one of the primary sources of mercury pollution in the environment,” said Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA).

Watson, along with Congressmen Burton and Michaud, is introducing a bill that would phase out the use of mercury in dental fillings as part of National Mercury Amalgam Awareness Week. Congresswoman Watson is expected to attend the October 7 event.

Mercury Vapor Testing Day is being held at John Marshall Park on 4 th and Pennsylvania, and will run from 10am to 4pm. Area dental and health professionals will be on hand to measure oral mercury levels from amalgam fillings, and to answer related health questions. The test is a non-invasive sampling of air from a person’s mouth, which can give a rough estimate of mercury exposure, as 80% of inhaled mercury vapor is absorbed into the body. The sampling device is the same one that is used by OSHA and EPA to measure mercury vapor in workplace settings and schools. The event is free of charge.

Consumers for Dental Choice was established in 1996 by consumer advocates, mercury poisoning victims, scientists and mercury-free dentists, to educate the public about the health and environmental dangers of mercury fillings, and to ensure the integrity of scientific research on amalgam. Since the organization began, the number of amalgams placed has declined dramatically, from two-thirds of all fillings placed to one-third, and the number of mercury-free dentists has grown dramatically.

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