Monday, August 23, 2010

Mercury's in Retrograde - Toxic To Teeth, Toxic To The Environment, Toxic To All

Surgeon General Warning: Reading this press release may be beneficial to your health

It’s not for naught that there’s a proposed resolution in a plank in the forthcoming United Nations treaty on mercury, a date certain to determine the end of dental mercury amalgam. European nation have largely banned malicious mercury. But in the United States, our very survival depends upon the Obama Administration leading the world in adopting this plank. Marketed deceptively as “silver fillings,” amalgam is an environmental pollutant for us all, and a serious workplace hazard for young female dental workers. Two-tiered dentistry in America, where the haves get alternatives and the have-nots get the shaft along with totally toxic mercury fillings must be eliminated.


Mercury is a virulent neurotoxin and a reproductive toxin. It is already so omnipresent in our environment that US EPA says one in 7 woman of childbearing age is at risk of having a brain-damaged child. Dental mercury (amalgam) is a primitive, pre-Civil War polluting product – composed mainly (43 to 54%) of mercury.

Major environmental pollutant: Amalgam is the #2 source of annual mercury sales in the US, the largest source of mercury in the wastewater, and the largest source of mercury from household waste. More mercury is in Americans’ teeth than in all products combined. With cremation use increasing, amalgam is a major source of air pollution.

Workplace hazard for young female dental workers. Proposition 65 mandates signs in dental offices that, as a matter of law, must read: 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.”

Social injustice: The wealthy have escaped to alternatives; America now has, as an NAACP witness testifying before Congress noted, “two-tiered dentistry … choice for the rich and mercury for the poor.” Drill, fill, and bill mercury dentistry is still practiced on our soldiers and sailors, our prisoners, our working poor, and by the Indian Health Service,; masses all willing to be free of mercury once the facts are out

Market deception: Over three-fourths of consumers, says a Zogby poll, would choose a non-mercury fillings – if they knew. The marketing term “silver fillings” misleads them.

A risk for children: The Dental Board of California provides a fact sheet for every patient that reads, in part, that mercury from dental amalgam “may harm the developing brain of a child or fetus.”

Taxpayer rip-off: When externalized costs – environmental clean-up, health care bills – are included, amalgam is the highest priced filling material (not the lowest). Amalgam manufacturers hand the bill to California taxpayers, who are hardly in a position to pay.

Never used in modern dentistry: Modern dentists have transitioned completely out of this historical anachronism. It’s time for the other half to do the same.

Mercury treaty negotiations: Under UN auspices, the nations are determining what to include in a treaty devoted solely to mercury. To his credit, President Obama reversed Bush and directed the U. S. to participate. As a Senator, Mr. Obama had a great record against mercury, and America could now lead the way toward a comprehensive treaty phasing out all man-made mercury. But the U.S. must fight amalgam manufacturers who seek to make amalgam standard in developing countries as it used to be in the U.S.

President Obama’s splendid record on mercury -

As a Senator

Senator Obama

· He authored the law that bans the export of elemental mercury

o Think about that. The most capitalist society in history, which exports all manner of weapons, toxins, cigarettes, whatever --- writes a law saying companies may not export mercury.

o It’s part of the world strategy: make each country dispose of its own mercury rather than paying off a third world country to dump it in; it makes us address our mercury problem.

· He convinced the Dept of Energy to bury, not sell, excess mercury. Part of the strategy to zero out mercury on this planet is to reduce its availability, raising its price


As a President

President Obama

· Put in motion this mercury treaty. Talks had ground to zero, because Bush was against the treaty, as was China, so without them, why move forward? The month after Pres Obama took office, at a UN Environmental Programme session in Nairobi, the new Obama Administration made clear it wanted a treaty. So a calendar was formed: five sessions over three years, 2010-13,to end with a treaty.

· I was told about the centrality of the Obama role by both a UN official and a British diplomat.

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,
Working for Mercury-Free Dentistry

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