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Mercury Fillings Battle Heats Up in D.C.

September 12, 2009 | 47,896 views

First let me tell you the GOOD news. You made an absolutely HUGE difference. I conducted an interview with Charlie Brown (the leading consumer protection attorney in the United States with respect to mercury) two weeks ago and encouraged you to call and write the FDA, and you did!

Thank you SO much. It nearly brings tears to my eyes to see that we can actually make a difference and start to save children and adults from brain damage by limiting their exposure to this brain poison.

The highest praise came from a highly respected FDA publication, the FDA Webview, edited by Jim Dickinson. The periodical stated that:

“No final rule in FDA’s modern history, or perhaps ever, has attracted this kind of organized opposition.”

Ohio’s largest newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, also ran a major story on our cause, entitled “Dangers of mercury fillings worry some despite federal OK.”

Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project, is quoted as saying:

“Clearly, mercury in dental amalgam is a neurotoxin. The FDA's ruling makes no sense, given that the agency cautions pregnant women and children about their exposure to other mercury sources like fish. I don't understand what's changed between last year and this year. Mercury is still a neurotoxin, whether FDA waves a magic wand and says it isn't one or not.”

Many of you are familiar with the travesty of the NutraSweet approval, facilitated by a very similar process by Donald Rumsfeld. Well that was in the late 70s, well before the Internet. I feel that with the same level of response you provided now, we would likely have been able to prevent NutraSweet from ever being approved.

The FDA simply can’t stand up to the light of truth and public exposure, and you did that in a big way. I am so grateful that you would take time out of your busy schedules to do this.

But it’s not over yet, so read on and find out how you can keep the pressure on the FDA. Let’s not let them off the hook this time!

The White House VS the FDA on Mercury Safety

An astute article by Ellen Brown in the Huffington Post shows that the Obama Administration is fighting against each other on mercury: “The Mercury Mischief: As Obama Warns of Hazards, The FDA Approves Mercury Dental Fillings

To his credit, our President is a staunch opponent of mercury in products; right now his team is negotiating a treaty to phase it out.

Meanwhile, the two people he appointed to run the Food and Drug Administration, Margaret Hamburg and Joshua Sharfstein, wrote a regulation to allow untrammeled sales of mercury amalgam without warnings, and even without disclosure of the mercury.

They quite simply do not want the status quo to change and desire mercury to remain in dentistry and not warn consumers about this fact.

In Washington, they are asking who is running the store – the President, or those whom he appoints and who proceed to ignore him?

What motive would cause an Obama appointee to defy the President of the United States?

Industry Shill at the Wheel

For Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, speculation focused on her close financial ties with dental products colossus Henry Schein Inc., the top distributor of mercury amalgam in the U.S. Hamburg served six years as a director, pulling a salary of a quarter million a year and holding stock worth at least another quarter million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a new development, Hamburg has confessed to trading in Schein stock options two months after taking office, up to as late as two weeks before the rule was announced, and contacting Henry Schein Inc. to unload more of her options as late as the day before the rule was announced.

Her defense in light of this obvious and massive conflict of interest is that her profits were small.

Seeking to stop this stormy swirl of slime, Charlie Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice filed a complaint with the U.S. Inspector General.

The second burning question was whether or not Hamburg had recused herself from the rule, and if so, when?

Again, the grassroots movement you were part of succeeded in getting at the truth.

In an email to Charlie Brown, Jim Dickinson of FDA Webview writes:

“Press Office told me today there is no recusal date because she didn’t file a document about it. It is not required. She simply did not participate, which is the same thing as a recusal, I was told. Basically, they’re saying recusals don’t have to be in writing or filed formally with anyone.”

So, it turns out Hamburg never officially recused herself from the mercury rule, despite holding and trading stock options in the nation’s number one seller of mercury fillings, Henry Schein Inc.

One grassroots supporter, Marilynn Block of Portland, Ore., wrote these Haikus and emailed them to Hamburg in response to the latest findings:

To: margaret.hamburg@fda.hhs.gov
Subject: Haiku for Hamburg 2 Sep 2009

Haiku poems inspired by your actions and conflict of interest in the recent mercury amalgam ruling.

Leaves turn brown, crumble and fall
The wind carries them away.
Margaret Hamburg

Here's another one, a more modern Haiku:

To Margaret Hamburg,
From the American people.
"You're FIRED!"

--Marilynn Block
I had mouth cancer from the mercury amalgam material you promote as "safe."

Don’t Let Up the Pressure – Tell Deputy Commissioner Sharfstein to Reconsider!

Grassroots effort succeeded in stopping Hamburg’s stonewalling, but it’s not over yet.

Armed with this latest information, Brown is apprising the Inspector General and appropriate Members of
Congress of the latest round of chicanery at FDA.

Here’s how you can help to keep the momentum going.

So far, Deputy Commissioner Sharfstein’s role has been very vague and unclear. It’s still not known if he was acting on Commissioner Hamburg’s behalf all along, or if he simply received the file once it was too late to object.

Jim Turner, a great public interest lawyer in Washington DC, has filed a petition for reconsideration on behalf of Citizens for Health and other organizations and individuals.

This petition gives Deputy Commissioner Sharfstein another chance -- a chance to choose between children and Henry Schein Inc.; a chance to choose between his boss and the President who appointed him.

I urge you to call or write FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein and ask him to reconsider this rule. Ask him to return to being a child advocate, which he was before he came to FDA.

So please call Commissioner Sharfstein, at 301.796-5040, or write him at JMSharf1@fda.hhs.gov

You can also add even more pressure by calling your Congressman; your federal legislative representative.

If you don’t know who your Congressman or Congresswoman is, you can find out by going to www.congress.org. You can also call Capitol Hill and ask who your Congressman is, at 202.224-43121, or 202.225-3121.

It's important to make it clear that people at the grassroots are not going to accept the FDA's ruling, which protects the profits of the seller of amalgam instead of protecting our children from a know neurotoxin.

Join Those Who are Watching Out for Your Health

Hopefully you will get a chance to review my two video interviews with Charlie Brown, who is the leading consumer protection attorney in the United States with respect to mercury. He is the stealth behind-the-scenes champion for consumer protection.

If you missed the first interview, please take a moment to watch it now.

Most Americans are absolutely unaware of what he and his organization have tirelessly been doing for the last ten years by seeking to eliminate the use of mercury in dentistry in the U.S.

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

-- Mahatma Gandhi

If you feel half as strongly as I do about the use of mercury in dentistry, I strongly encourage you to watch all of the videos above so you can understand the problem and, more importantly, actively participate in the process to eliminate mercury in dentistry in the U.S.

In addition, please help grow this important grassroots movement by becoming a Facebook Fan. The project is run by Patrick Sullivan Jr., president of Jigsaw Health, based in Phoenix. Patrick is also a board member of Consumers for Dental Choice.

To join, follow this link.

Please also make sure you have joined my Facebook page.

For more background information, you can also review my last two articles on this issue, listed in Related Articles below.

An excellent article in this week’s issue of Wealthy Dentist illustrates the intensity of debate going on WITHIN dentistry about whether or not amalgam should continue to be used. The FDA wants you to remain unaware of this debate, and their rule concludes that you don’t even have the right to learn about the controversy surrounding mercury!

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