Dental Amalgam "Safe,"
Patient Choice "Encouraged"
in U. S. House Subcommittee Testimony

Updated May 26, 2012

Dr. Frederick Eichmiller, D.D.S handed out a press release entitled "Dental Amalgams Safe, Patient Choice Encouraged" at the May 8, 2003 Congressional hearings "Consumer Choice and Implementing Full Disclosure in Dentistry." It was written by Craig Palmer.

Eichmiller was the director of the American Dental Association Foundations' Paffenbarger Research Center.

When I went on the ADA website shortly after the hearings, the most notable press release was
ADA Calls for Sound Science.
After reviewing archives of the ADA website using the WayBack Machine, I see that the "Dental Amalgams Safe, Patient Choice Encouraged" press release was carried on the ADA website up through June 7, 2007. In 2009 I accessed the article "Dental Amalgams Safe, Patient Choice Encouraged" as it appeared on the ADA web site in 2003 using the WayBack Machine.

The original link to "Dental Amalgams Safe, Patient Choice Encouraged" which does not work now, is That is the link I used to search on the WayBack Machine.

But most dentists didn't give patients a choice in dental materials, because dentists knew back in 2003 that if they informed patients about the M word-MERCURY- they could likely end up before their dental boards.

Dentists Back Home Did not Know What Happened at the Congressional Hearings on "Consumer Choice and Implementing Full Disclosure in Dentistry."

DAMS noted in one of their Dental Truth publications that Craig Palmer, the author of the press release, did not actually cover the hearings and did not report back to dentists the content of the speaker's speeches. All that appeared on the ADA website was the press release. So if dentists think they heard the whole story about Congressional hearings from the ADA on their website, they are mistaken.

The ADA spokesman had his old song and dance routine that amalgam was safe; that the ADA had the science on their side. He also said the ADA's information brochure to patients informed them that amalgam contained mercury. In all my years of going to the dentist, I never once saw an ADA brochure informing me about what my dentist was putting in my mouth.

If the ADA is informing the public so well and giving them a choice, why didn't I know my dentist was exposing me to mercury vapor whenever he drilled into a silver filling and I took a normal breath? I never had a choice in deciding whether or not I wanted to breathe mercury vapor. My dentist just started drilling and did not provide any respiratory protection for me. My dentist never gave me a lying patient information brochure telling me how safe amalgam was!

What's Going on Here?

If patient choice is "encouraged," how come on the day that the ADA spokesman was supposedly encouraging patient choice in Washington, D.C., a mercury free dentist in Virginia was being fined by the Board of Dentistry in Richmond, Virginia for doing that very thing- speaking out about dental mercury? After all, by speaking out, this mercury free dentist was giving people a choice.

While I was in Washington, D.C. attending the Congressional hearings on "Consumer Choice and Implementing Full Disclosure in Dentistry," a dentist from the Charlottesville area was sitting before the Dental Board in Richmond. Dr. James Rice had been brought up on charges in 2001 because another Charlottesville dentist had turned him in to the Dental Board. Oh, Dr. Rice must have done something terrible, you will say. What terrible thing did he do? Could he be a Peeping Tom, or was he guilty of some drug abuse or drinking problems?

No, Dr. Rice was not a peeping Tom, though we do have a peeping Tom dentist in Virginia. (I saw transcripts of the hearings of the Peeping Tom dentist on the Internet. [] Wouldn't you ladies like for him to put you to sleep while he does his "dental" work on you?

The only crime that Dr. Rice committed was that he told the truth about the dangers of mercury fillings in the Charlottesville newspaper. Someone had written a question to the Charlottesville Daily Progress in the column "Expert Advice from the Pros" asking about silver fillings. Dr. Rice truthfully answered the question by stating that mercury fillings cause toxic amounts of mercury to leak into the bloodstream. He also stated that amalgam expands and contract causing your teeth to crack, resulting in more expensive dental work having to be done later.

According to Dr. Rice's transcripts that I read on the webite for the Department of Health Professions (, the Board of Dentistry's charges against him stated:
1. You caused to be published an advertisement in the Charlottesville Daily Progress, in the "Expert Advice from the Pros" section in which you made statements that may be false, deceptive or misleading, and claims of superiority. Specifically:
      a. Your advertisement questions the safety of silver-mercury amalgam fillings. Your statment that, "many intelligent people are absolutely convinced these materials create toxic levels of mercury in the bloodstream," and "there is no doubt these restorations leak, cause tooth fractures, leading to crowns and other more expensive treatment." These statements are false, deceptive and misleading

      b. Your statement that of all the people you "consider to be the top ten dentists in the country, absolutely none of them do mercury filling," and that "this is why it has been many years since [you] have placed a mercury filling." These claims imply a claim of professional superiority to dentists who place mercury fillings.
Remember it is against the Code of Virginia in Section 54.1-2706A.7 to "cause to be published in any manner an advertisement relating to his professional practice which (i)is false, deceptive or misleading, (ii)contains a claim of superiority, or (iii)violates regulations promulgated by the Board governing advertising."

So if a dentist says he hasn't used mercury for many years or possibly even advertises that he is mercury free, the Board of Dentistry in Virginia could start harassing this dentist and bring him up on charges of "claims of superiority." Dr. Rice went ahead and paid his $500 fine. His wife also paid out $500 in fines because she sometimes practices dentistry in his office also. Dr. Rice admitted in his May 8, 2003 hearing that "he regrets the language in the advertisement and that he had not intended to mislead the public." Dr. Rice further informed the Board that "he will be more careful in any future advertisements."

By this time that Dr. Rice agreed to this, he had already paid out $12,000 in legal fees to try to stop this action against him. The attorney from Consumers for Dental Choice, Charlie Brown, was not even allowed to question the Dental Board's witnesses against him. So I imagine that Dr. Rice did "regret" advertising the truth about the harm done by mercury fillings, though every word he said was true. His Charlottesville lawyer stated that he had never seen such a miscarriage of justice done against an individual and that ten of his rights to a fair hearing before the Board had been violated.

Dr. Rice had a well known dentist from Florida to offer an affidavit stating that everything Dr. Rice had placed in the newspaper was correct, but this affidavit was disallowed because one member of the Dental Board stated that the Florida dentist was under disciplinary action from the Florida Dental Board. Later, Dr. Rice checked this out with the Florida Dental Board, and the dentist from Florida had NEVER been disciplined by the Florida Dental Board! So Dr. Rice was effectively gagged in Virginia from speaking out against mercury dental fillings. Dental Boards don't play fair. Neither does the ADA, who is really the power at the top that influences the politics behind Dental Boards.

Remember the American Dental Association exerts great influence over the state dental boards, because the ADA is the one who provides the list of dentists for the governor to choose from to pick the Virginia Board of Dentistry. We need some mercury free dentists on the dental board, and specifically some biological dentists who know how to properly remove mercury fillings without poisoning patients. In California, the whole dental board was overthrown and a new panel of dentists was chosen for the dental board. We need a house-cleaning in Virginia too because the dental board still harasses mercury free-mercury safe biological dentists when they advertise they use special precations while taking out amalgam fillings.

But the ADA spokesman, Eichmiller, stated on May 8th before Congressional hearings that the ADA is trying to be truthful with the public about silver amalgam dental fillings. He stated that the ADA was telling patients the truth about silver fillings in the ADA's patient information brochure. But that is not true.

The ADA's patient information brochure is filled with misinformation for the dentist as well as the patient.

Eichmiller stated "Major organizations responsible for protecting the public's health view dental amalgam as a safe and effective treatment option for dental decay. These organizations include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Public health Service, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization. The FDA published its most recent reaffirmation of amalgam's safety in December 2002.


It is not true that the FDA completely reaffirmed amalgam's safety in December 2002. As a matter of fact the FDA for the first time quoted Health Canada's guidelines, which would begin some restrictions of amalgam. In a news release from Charles Brown, counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice the following occurred--

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.
Eichmiller also stated on May 8th, "For instance in large cavities in the rear teeth where chewing forces are greatest or cavities below the gum line," he explains, "amalgam is used because of its durability and it is one of the best filling materials that can be placed in areas of the mouth that are difficult to keep dry."

If amalgam is so great below the gumline, how come the amalgam manufacturer Dentsply/Caulk in its Materials Safety Data Sheet states "The use of amalgam is contraindicated...... For retrograde or endodontic filling."

I had a discussion with my dental hygientist about how mercury in the mouth causes inflammation of the gums. She told me that she had seen inflammation on the gums the most when there was a retrograde or a filling below the gum line. So how come the ADA is so impressed with the use of amalgam below the gumline?

According to Eichmiller, "The ADA would hate to see such a valuable material banned based on misinformation about its safety, and we oppose any legislation that would eliminate this viable option for treating dental disease."

Eichmiller tried to clear up the "misconceptions" about amalgam. He said that amalgam is not the same as mercury. It is bound. He said that it required the proper placement and handling.

Eichmiller said that the ADA was not trying to hide from the public that the fillings had mercury, by calling the fillings silver. He said they called them silver because they looked silver. He said they called them silver, and if they looked gold they would have called them gold.

He stated the the ADA did not have a gag rule, and the ADA did not have the power to gag. The ADA wants the dentists to discuss amalgam based only on science. He stated that it was unethical for a dentist to remove amalgam from a non allergic person if the dentist is saying that he is removing a toxin.

The fun part started when the "no nonsense" Congresswoman Diane Watson grilled Eichmiller. Watson is the bold lady who passed the legislation in California to stop people for smoking cigarettes in public places.

You can read the questions Watson asked Eichmiller in this download of the Congressional hearing: 2003 Congressional Hearing Consumer Choice and Implementing Full Disclosure in Dentistry."

Just do a search on the pdf document for Watson and Eichmiller.

Here is a brief synopsis of the questions Watson asked in a YouTube presentation: 2002 Congressional Subcommittee Hearings on the Safety of Dental Amalgam

You can see the entire hearing "Mercury in Dental Amalgams: An Examination of the Science" on the YouTube channel MercuryExposure.

Tell all your friends about dental mercury, especially those with children. And for the your poor child's sake, your child who is depending on you, don's have the attitude my neighbor had about her child's upcoming trip to the dentist.

She was to take her child for a dental appointment for eleven dental fillings. She hadn't even asked the dentist if he is mercury free!! I asked my neighbor, "You mean you are letting a dentist put in eleven fillings in your child's mouth, and you don't even know what kind of material he is going to use? And you have already heard from me how I was mercury poisoned?? I told her, "Eleven mercury fillings could cause your child to have seizures!"

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This information is provided for educational purposes only, and does not replace a personal consultation with the health care professional of your choice.