WHO: Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles), community
leaders, anti-Mercury consumer and environmental activists
WHAT: Press conference to announce Rep. Watson's bill to end the
use of the dangerous toxin Mercury in dental fillings by 2007
WHERE: DWP Building, 4030 Crenshaw (at MLK Blvd.)
WHEN: Monday, November 5 at 1:30 p.m.
WHY: So-called "silver" fillings are composed mainly of Mercury,
a highly toxic material. Mercury is being removed from
ALL other health care uses. Scientists agree that poisonous
Mercury vapors constantly emit from fillings and can collect in
the brain and other organs.
Congresswoman Watson has a long record of working for disclosure of the
risks of Mercury-based dental fillings. While a California State Senator in
1992, Rep. Watson authored a first-of-its-kind law that requires the state
Dental Board to issue a "Fact Sheet" on the risks of Mercury. Similar laws
have since been adopted in Arizona and Maine.
In California over the past six months, the issue of Mercury-based dental
fillings has become a subject of major controversy (see coverage at
Consumers for Dental Choice's web site, www.toxicteeth.net). In June,
consumer groups filed suit against the American and California Dental
Associations for deceptively referring to mercury-based fillings as "silver"
and for secretly accepting payments from Mercury amalgam manufacturers while
endorsing their product as safe.
In September the California Legislature voted to abolish the Dental Board
and replace it with an entirely new Board, largely because of its refusal for
nearly ten years to adopt a Fact Sheet that properly warned of the dangers of
Mercury fillings. Governor Davis signed the bill into law last month
(along with a bill outlawing Mercury thermometers), saying "Mercury is a
persistent and toxic pollutant that bioaccumulates in the environment ..."
"It is no longer a question of if, but when, Mercury dental fillings will
be history," said Congresswoman Watson. "Mercury has been -- or is being --
removed from all other health care uses, including in thermometers, vaccines
and disinfectants. It is politically and medically illogical to be removing
Mercury from all other medical uses and at the same time continuing to place
it in peoples' mouths."
Mercury poses a particular risk to children and pregnant women, as well as
other subpopulations (e.g. people with kidney disease or who wear braces). A
1999 government report (by the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
of the United States Public Health Service) says that the Mercury vapors from
fillings go to the brain, which puts a child's developing brain at the most
risk. The report further states that the Mercury goes through the placenta
into the developing embryo and that it goes through the mother's breast milk
into the baby.
While the American Dental Association still supports using Mercury
fillings (and in fact receives a fee from Mercury amalgam manufacturers for
endorsing their product), there is increasing opposition to the continued use
of Mercury among dentists and other dental professionals. For example,
smaller groups such as the Carmel-based American Academy of Biological
Dentistry and the Orlando-based International Academy of Oral Medicine &
Toxicology support an end to Mercury amalgam.
For news coverage and further information: www.toxicteeth.net
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SOURCE Consumers for Dental Choice