California Dentist Forced to Disclose Health Risks of Mercury Fillings

Shawn Khorrami wins Proposition 65 case, forcing California dentists to disclose health risks of mercury fillings. On January 7, in a hearing involving our cause, the Superior Court in San Francisco ordered the California Dental Association to send health warnings about mercury fillings to every California dentist by March 9. The Court rebuffed an effort by the ADA to intervene and obstruct the case. The warnings read:

Dental Amalgam, used in many dental fillings, causes exposure to mercury, a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

*** FDA revises its Consumer Update, adding the Health Canada warnings:

On December 31, 2002, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration revised its Consumer Update. The Academy of General Dentistry and others used the February 2002 version as its major prop to keep endorsing mercury fillings. Well, our year of hard work to change it has paid off. The February version is no more. FDA has removed its offensive prediction that ""for the foreseeable future, patients will continue to have amalgam dental fillings."" Even better, the US Government has now told our consumers about Health Canada's recommendations that children, pregnant women, and people with kidney problems no longer receive mercury fillings:

Health Canada recommended that dental amalgam be avoided in people allergic to mercury or with impaired kidney function; if possible, to avoid its placement or removal in the teeth of pregnant women; and to consider the use of alternatives in the primary teeth of children.

The battle between the ADA and our forces has increasingly become a battle of equals. The ADA still has lots more money and influence, but the dental profession is now clearly divided. Now the pro-mercury dentists must increasingly face angry patients -- or patients who simply choose to go elsewhere. The ADA is so intent about protecting mercury use that it threatens to destroy the credibility of the very professionals it is supposed to represent.

Charlie Brown, counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice

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