Dental Groups Sued Over Mercury in Fillings

A coalition of public interest groups sued the American Dental Association and the California Dental Association in June, claiming they have misled the public about the dangers of mercury in tooth fillings.

The lawsuits, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, are the latest salvo in a growing battle over mercury fillings, which opponents say can poison the body with leaking vapors possibly linked to Alzheimer's disease (news - web sites) and other neurological problems, especially in children and fetuses.

The dental associations insist that mercury is safe when mixed with other metals and implanted in teeth and that studies have failed to demonstrate that the low level vapors are dangerous.

The lawsuits allege violations of California's business and professions code and charge that the ADA and the CDA have issued rules preventing dentists from discussing the dangers of mercury with patients. "The worst thing they are doing is hiding the presence of mercury in fillings - which they call silver amalgam - and trying to keep dentists from saying the 'M' word and keep consumers from hearing the 'M' word," plaintiffs' attorney Charles Brown said. "These fillings are 50% mercury."

Brown filed the lawsuits on behalf of Kids Against Pollution, Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome Inc., American Academy of Biological Dentistry and a group of patients who believe that mercury in fillings has made them ill.

"We consider it to be safe and the science certainly indicates that it is," CDA spokeswoman Linda Seifert said, adding that her organization advocates dentists explaining the risks of any procedure to patients.

Fred Peterson, a spokesman for the ADA, said he could not discuss the lawsuit but issued a prepared statement from the organization on tooth fillings: "Dental amalgam (silver filling) is considered a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans," the statement said. "It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin in addition to mercury which chemically binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance."

The plaintiffs seek civil penalties and ask the court to stop the ADA and the CDA from putting out "false, misleading and inaccurate information" about fillings and stop referring to them as "silver" when they have equal parts mercury.

The National Institutes of Health are conducting clinical trials into the effects of mercury fillings in children. Other studies on mercury in fillings have been inconclusive.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in federal court in Maryland by dentists and patients, while state legislatures in New York and Maine are considering bills that would require dentists to disclose to patients the makeup of their fillings.

DAMS

(Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome) Dentaltruth@knology.net

~~~~~~~~

By Dan Whitcomb

Share this with your friends