By Dr. Mercola
I am excited to have the opportunity to interview Charlie Brown, one of my legal heroes in the battle against mercury. Charlie has been a major force in the ground roots movement against mercury amalgams.
Although the battle with the FDA rumbles on, we are whittling away at the barriers to progress, “hitting them upside the head” repeatedly with facts they can’t deny. And we have no plans of letting up!
This issue is just too important, too critical to your health and the long-term health of your children.
Mercury is a potent heavy metal toxin that can poison your brain, central nervous system and kidneys.
It is one serious toxin and it personally severely damaged my kidneys when I had my amalgam fillings improperly removed 17 years ago.
Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk, but really anyone can be impacted.
In fact, just one drop of mercury in a lake would poison the lake to the extent that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would ban it from fishing.
Yet, unbelievably, they let you carry around a mouthful of this toxic metal and would have you believe it somehow loses its capacity to do harm if installed in your teeth. The average person in the U.S. has eight amalgam fillings. Clearly, this is no small problem and calls for urgent action.
U.S. Lags Behind, While the World Moves Forward on Banning Mercury
The FDA has long been the world’s number one protector of mercury fillings, and the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world, and even behind some third world countries, in protecting its citizens from this product.
- Denmark, Norway and Sweden have essentially banned amalgams
- There are 5,636 hospitals in developing countries that are committed to or already mercury-free. The majority of these are in the Philippines, India and Argentina.
- Canada advised dentists to stop placing amalgam in children and pregnant women in 1996 (although Canada appears to be regressing on this issue now, thanks to the recent position taken by its Chief Dental Officer (Peter Cooney).
In the United States, four out of five dental specialists still use amalgams, and the material continue to be endorsed by the American Dental Association. The FDA’s determination to protect mercury fillings has no doubt had something to do with its commissioner. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has an egregious conflict of interest on amalgam, yet participated in the rulemaking that led to FDA’s disappointing ruling in 2009.
Hamburg entered the FDA through the revolving government/private industry door after allegedly making millions as the director of Henry Schein Inc., the largest seller of dental amalgam (mercury fillings). The FDA has a history of stacking the deck of its advisory panels so that pro-industry, pro-mercury position is upheld. Yet, most recently, the U.S. State Department has called for a “phase down” of mercury fillings, followed by an “eventual” phase out. The State Department’s submission to the Mercury International Negotiation Committee also called for:
- Educating patients and parents (about amalgam) in order to protect children and fetuses
- Training of dental professionals on the environmental impacts of mercury in dental amalgams
This is a very encouraging turn of events that brings us one step closer to mercury-free dentistry for all. Even though the FDA signed on to this statement internationally, they have yet to change the rule at home, so your support IS still needed.
Amalgams Frequently Used as They Generate More Profit
According to a Zogby poll, 77 percent of consumers would willingly pay more to opt out of dental amalgam in favor of safer dental fillings. If this opt-out occurred, it would effectively reduce the number of patients your dentist could funnel through his office on any given day.
Mercury fillings are quick and easy to put in. It isn’t that composite materials cost more–they just take longer to make. Not only can dentists buzz through a lot of mercury amalgam fillings each day, but these amalgams also require the destruction of quite a lot of good tooth matter, which sets you up for more dental problems down the road… meaning, more dental work, including root canals. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, from a dentist’s perspective.
So, the perceived profitability of mercury fillings has led to what Charlie Brown calls a “drill, fill and bill” mentality.
Fewer patients coming through the door each day isn’t the only issue striking fear in the heart of your mercury-loving dentist. Many dentists are also wary of the possibility that thousands, if not millions, of lawsuits could arise if they–or the FDA–admitted to the damage mercury amalgams have done to public health. Litigation and class action lawsuits could deliver an incapacitating blow to the dental industry.
If we are to gain the support of government regulators and the American Dental Association (ADA), then some protection from liability must be part of the package. This is why the environmental approach is ideal, because it offers some insulation from liability on the part of the dental industry, hopefully making new regulations a bit more palatable and easier to get passed.
For more information, check out Dr. Mercola’s website.