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[GreenYes] FW: MERCURY: S.F. Chronicle re California Dental Board Hg factsheet
Title: FW: MERCURY:  S.F. Chronicle re California Dental Board Hg fact sheet
The below email message is from a listserv; apologies for any cross-postings and please forward as appropriate.  -Stephanie

           Stephanie C. Davis

NOTE that on TWTh, I can be found at:
          Sutter Delta Medical Center
3901 Lone Tree Way,  Antioch, CA 94509
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      phone:      925-756-1118      fax:     925-779-3044

Where I am the Infection Control Manager,
      work which is separate from WRR

------ Forwarded Message

Dentists yield on mercury in fillings
State board agrees to cite experts' concerns

Kelly St. John, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, August 4, 2001

Oakland-In a surprise turnaround, a skittish California Dental Board shied
away last night from a controversial fact sheet playing down the risk of
mercury in dental fillings.
The board, under pressure from state lawmakers, instead asked its staff to
revise the document to note that some experts think "silver" fillings pose
risks to consumers. Silver fillings are about 50 percent mercury by weight.
"Basically, we're saying there's some difference of opinion," Dr. Kit Neacy,
president of the board, said after the meeting in Oakland.
The session drew two dozen speakers, most of them adamant that such fillings
may be a factor in neurological damage to developing children, chronic
fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer's disease and asthma.
The board's unexpected move was made after intense pressure from state
legislators who want to dissolve the dental board for a host of reasons,
including not drafting for nearly a decade an acceptable mercury warning
The fact sheet was required by a 1992 law but never implemented to the
satisfaction of state officials. It is designed for dentists to use when
they speak with patients about what materials are used in fillings,
including amalgam-which refers to alloys of mercury, porcelain and resin.
Advocates were pleased by the results of the meeting, which at one point
became so heated that nervous state officials summoned a dozen police and
California Highway Patrol officers to stand by.
"We've made a huge step in recognizing the toxicity of mercury," said
Charles Brown, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who is suing the American and
California dental associations. "At last, the board seems willing to say the
M word."
On its own, critics say, mercury is a toxic poison that may cause
developmental and neurological problems, especially in children and pregnant
But the American Dental Association contends that the fillings are safe
because mercury is combined chemically with other elements to form an alloy.

Some dentists compare it to chloride and sodium, both elements that harm
humans on their own but form benign sodium chloride-salt-when combined.
Mercury vapors do escape during normal chewing and brushing, but not at a
harmful level, according to the American Dental Association.
"There is no sound scientific evidence supporting a link between amalgam
fillings and systemic diseases or chronic illness," ADA President Dr. Robert
Anderton said in a written statement.
Others aren't convinced.
"If you have amalgam left over (after filling a cavity), there's only two
things you can do," said Dr. S. Ward Eccles, a dentist from Livermore. "You
can put it in a toxic waste dump, or you can put it in the next tooth.
Something's wrong when those are the only two choices."
Consumers for Dental Choice have sued the American Dental Association,
saying it is deceiving the public by supporting the use of mercury in
fillings when mercury's use is being limited in other products, such as
thermometers and blood pressure gauges.
After the state dental board canceled a June meeting that would have dealt
with the mercury issue, state Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont, initiated a
drive to purge the 12-member board, which licenses and disciplines the
state's 30, 000 dentists.
"I don't think they take the whole responsibility seriously," she said.
"They've delayed the process for over 11 years."

E-mail Kelly St. John at

------ End of Forwarded Message

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