By Dr. Mercola
With Consumers for Dental Choice
- Thanks to deceptive, manipulative efforts by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), most Americans are unaware that “silver” fillings are 50 percent mercury
- The ADA has historically covered up the fact that mercury is used in dental fillings while taking money from Coca-Cola and other companies whose products promote the formation of cavities
- 50 percent of dentists are now mercury-free; you can help abolish the use of mercury in dentistry by supporting one of them
- We are on the brink of prompting real change in the fight for mercury-free dentistry; action items are included so you can help!
Mercury is an incredibly potent neurotoxin; it doesn't take much to cause serious damage because it's an absolute poison. If you were to take the amount of mercury in a typical thermometer and put it in a small lake, that lake would be closed down due to environmental hazards.
Yet, amounts much higher than that are readily put into your mouth if you receive a "silver" amalgam dental filling, as the majority of material in the filling is actually mercury.
Amalgam or "Silver" Fillings are Actually Mercury Fillings
It's estimated that 75 percent of Americans are ignorant about that fact that amalgam fillings are actually 50 percent mercury, and this is no accident. The American Dental Association (ADA) popularized the deceptive term "silver fillings" so consumers would think amalgam is made mainly of silver when actually it has twice as much mercury as silver.
As Charlie Brown, who founded the Consumers for Dental Choice in 1996, stated:
"The American Dental Association is basically a gigantic fraud agent when it comes to amalgam because for years they promoted amalgam as silver fillings and they're not. It's a gigantic consumer fraud perpetuated by thousands of dentists in the United States who use the word silver fillings when by far the most prevalent material is mercury.
The FDA defends amalgam and says the word silver is because they are silver colored. The FDA knows better. They know they are perpetuating a lie. The Food and Drug Administration has basically been the agent of the American Dental Association in protecting the use of mercury fillings.
That protection continues even though two scientific panels in a row – these are scientists handpicked by FDA itself – the scientists have come in and to the surprise of the FDA staff have told the FDA staff, you're wrong. You've got to stop amalgam use for pregnant women. You've got to stop amalgam use for children. You've got to do both of them now and you've got to make sure that every consumer knows and every parent knows that amalgam is not silver, that it's mercury."
Not only are most Americans unaware that silver fillings contain mercury, but many are also unaware of what risks that poses to your health. Once you get a mercury filling, your risk continues because every time you chew, the mercury releases a vapor into your mouth that deposits slowly in your tissues over time and does not disappear.
What are the Health Risks of Mercury Fillings?
The metallic mercury used by dentists to manufacture dental amalgam is shipped as a hazardous material to the dental office. Any amalgam leftover is also treated as hazardous and requires special precautions to dispose of, as it should because it can cause wide-ranging damage to your health.
Charlie Brown states:
" … mercury is a reproductive toxin. Meaning, of course, it can harm your unborn baby. It's a neurotoxin meaning it can harm your brain. It's a nephrotoxin meaning it will harm your kidneys. There is no safe level of mercury. This dentist is playing Russian roulette with your child or you if he or she is giving you a mercury filling."
Virtually any kind of stimulation can cause these fillings to release mercury. Eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, grinding your teeth, chewing gum, anything. If you want to see the vapors released for yourself, watch this shocking video.
Mercury vapor from the amalgams passes readily through cell membranes, across the blood-brain barrier, and into your central nervous system, where it causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems. Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk, but really anyone can be impacted.
Further, dental mercury is the number one source of mercury in our wastewater, so dentists are handing the clean-up bill for their pollution to taxpayers and water ratepayers. And this mercury ends up in your food supply, where it can cause continued damage to your health if you eat fish and other contaminated seafood.
Does the American Dental Association Want You to Eat Candy?
You may be aware that poor diet, including eating sugar, is the primary reason why people develop cavities in their teeth. The ADA puts out propaganda that they want you to eat less sugar, and hence get fewer cavities, but in reality they have maintained ties with makers of some of the most detrimental products to your teeth, namely soda!
"The American Dental Association wants you to get more cavities. They were taking a million bucks a year from Coca Cola until they were discovered. They tell you they want to reduce cavities. They want more cavities. The World Dental Federation takes money from the Mars Candy colossus which is the Wrigley, the Mars candy bar, the Snickers and all that. They take money from them.
Their propaganda is we want you to eat less sugar. But the candy companies and Coca Cola would not be shoveling money to the American Dental Association and the World Dental Federation if they really thought the ADA believed them. You never see the ADA doing public service out saying, "eat less, don't eat candy, don't eat sugar" because it's good for business. The more sugar, the more money and that's why amalgam is used."
Amalgam was introduced in the Civil War era by the new American Dental Association, which won a political battle with the physicians of the mouth, who said using mercury in oral health care is malpractice. Florida dentist James Hardy, in his book Mercury Free, refers to the creation of amalgam and the creation of the American Dental Association as the "twin-birth."
The truth is, amalgam is a primary money-maker for conventional dentists; amalgams are quick and easy, and dentists make more money per chair per day implanting mercury.
50 Percent of Dentists are Now Mercury-Free
We are on the brink of prompting real change in the fight for mercury-free dentistry, and this is largely because of readers like you who have taken the time to write to the FDA to let your voice be heard on this issue. Consumers for Dental Choice and World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, of which Charlie Brown is president, have also been major catalysts for change. They played an integral role in allowing dentists the freedom to tell the truth that there is mercury in the fillings.
Prior to that the American Dental Association actually had a gag order of sorts that threatened to pull the licenses of dentists who mentioned the "M" word (mercury) to their patients! At that time, in the 1990s, only 3 percent of dentists were mercury-free.
Brown and his organizations took the matter to the courts and said dentists have a right under the United States constitution to talk to their patients, to advertise, and to tell the truth – and they won. Now dentists can say the "M" word, and as an extension of that 50% of dentists are mercury-free! This is one of they ways you can vote with your pocketbook and have enormous economic and environmental influence. Find a mercury-free dentist!
As Brown states:
"It's just time for dentistry to realize the amalgam era is over. If they don't realize it, the world needs to say, we need to get rid of it but the starting point is with your dentist and your office to say, I know that amalgam is mercury. Do not give it to my child. Do not give it to me. We will not tolerate it.
Frankly, you shouldn't go to a dentist that still uses mercury fillings. You should go to a mercury-free dentist.
Amalgam is a primitive polluting pre-Civil War product. It had no business in 20th century dentistry and for goodness sake's we're in the 21st century now. I call on the dentists of America to wakeup. But if they won't wake up, if they insist on continuing to put mercury into children's mouths please don't give that dentist any money. Don't go to that dentist anymore."
You Can Help Catalyze the Transition to Mercury-Free Dentistry!
Charlie Brown is headed to Nairobi in October to lead a worldwide delegation participating in the world mercury treaty negotiations. With him will be a team of dentists, consumers, attorneys, and scientists fighting to get amalgam into that treaty. With the world deciding whether we continue allowing mercury in children's mouths, much is at stake. During this Mercury-Free Dentistry Awareness Week, I urge you to take action.
Here's what you can do:
Americans: Our number one problem is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has partnered with the American Dental Association (ADA) to cover up the mercury -- to make you think you are getting silver instead of toxic mercury in your mouth. The FDA intentionally conceals the warnings about amalgam deep in its regulation -- so parents will never see them. On its website, the FDA gives dentists the green light to continue to deceive consumers with the term "silver fillings"
"Americans are ready for the end of amalgam." This was the theme of the testimony to the U.S. Department of State on August 18 by former West Virginia state Senator Charlotte Pritt. Yes, Americans are ready. But FDA is not. So let's send them a message. Nine months ago, FDA scientists advised the agency to disclose the mercury to all patients and parents, and to stop amalgam for children and pregnant women. Yet FDA sits – sits actually in the pocket of the American Dental Association – ignoring its own scientists.
Please write the Director of FDA's Center for Devices, Jeff Shuren, email@example.com Ask Dr Shuren why the FDA continues to ignore scientists and covers up the mercury from American parents and consumers. Ask when the FDA is going to get in step with the world on mercury.
Dr. Jeff Shuren, Director
Center for Devices, U.S. Food & Drug Admin.
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
WO66-5431, Room 5442
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002
Californians: Dr. Shuren is coming to San Francisco for a "town meeting" on September 22. We urge Northern Californians to attend. It will go from 8 am to 12 noon, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, San Francisco Airport (telephone: 650.589.3400)
In Southern California, Consumers for Dental Choice is organizing a city-by-city attack on amalgam --- and needs volunteers. If you wish to help with the grassroots work of organizing for city council hearings, gathering petitions, and telephoning, volunteer by writing firstname.lastname@example.org
Australians: Your government, Aussies, is now in last place on the mercury treaty, asking the world to throw in the towel instead of working to phase out dental mercury. A great new group has started, Australians for Mercury-Free Dentistry, led by dentist Lisa Matriste and consumer activist Anna Priest. We urge you to go to its website and join: http://www.mercuryfreedentistry.com.au/
Canadians: The chief dental officer of Health Canada doubles as a lobbyist for the pro-mercury World Dental Federation. Pretty outrageous, eh? We ask that you write Minister of Environment Canada Peter Kent at Minister@ec.gc.ca, and tell him that you as a taxpayer are amazed that Environment Canada is letting someone with such a conflict of interest influence the nation's treaty policy on amalgam. Ask him why Environment Canada is silent on amalgam, and if this is due to the fact that Canada's Chief Dental Officer was at the treaty sessions boasting that he "wears two hats," paid government employee and lobbyist for a special interest group.
Brits and other Europeans: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution this spring calling for the end of amalgam. The Council of Europe is not the European Union -- it is every European nation, all 47 of them. Deputy Jean Huss drafted the meticulously-researched report upon which this resolution was based. This ground-breaking report explained that "[A]malgams are the prime source of exposure to mercury for developed countries, also affecting embryos, fetuses (through the placenta) and children (through breastfeeding)… Exposure to mercury can seriously affect the health of patients and dental professionals…[B]etween 60 and 90 tonnes of mercury from dental surgeries are released into and contaminate Europe's atmosphere, surface waters and soil every year." Please thank Deputy Huss for his excellent work at Jhuss@chd.lu.
Folks worldwide: If you aren't on that list, there's plenty to do – for example, Dominique Bally, an outstanding young advocate from the Ivory Coast, runs the Amalgam-Free Africa Campaign. If you want to help somewhere, anywhere, and there's nothing on the list above for you, write Charlie Brown at email@example.com
Last but certainly not least, I encourage you to contribute to Consumers for Dental Choice. The Natural Health Research Foundation, founded by me, Dr. Mercola, will double match whatever you give this week. I believe that strongly in the mission, the commitment, and the quality of work of Consumers for Dental Choice and its Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry.
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