Fifty years after the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking, it is high time for President Obama to ask the U.S. Surgeon General to prepare a Report on Dental Amalgam.
The great United States of America, through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, lags behind other advanced, emerging and developing nations in recognizing and protecting its citizens from dental amalgam’s scientifically proven health risks to genetically susceptible children and adults.
The FDA refuses to follow the recommendations of its own Scientific Advisory Panels on amalgam in 2006 and 2010 which called for clear health warnings, patient restrictions, and specific prior informed written consent before its use. Instead, the FDA requires clear health warnings and contraindications to be provided to dentists, but not patients.
Why? The American Dental Association and FDA fight tooth and nail to preserve its use as a “safe, effective restorative material.” The ADA was founded as a pro-amalgam trade association, has filed patents on it. Whistleblowers at the FDA went to Congress, but nothing happened. There was a 36-year delay in classifying amalgam as a medical device, then in 2010 the FDA shocked everyone by only making it Class II, with special controls for dentists and none for patients, instead of Class III, which requires proof of safety. The International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT) and injured patients petitioned for reconsideration, nothing happened.
They have not convinced the IAOMT, IABDM, Holistic Dental Association, or a growing number of doctors treating the growing number of patients recovering from the raft of chronic autoimmune, neurological and other diseases that plague us as we age.
They have not convinced the over 100,000 people who finally figured out why they were ill, and contacted the volunteer patient counseling, information and referral, and support group Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions (DAMS), which is run by a volunteer executive director, board members, and volunteer coordinators in all 50 states, many of whom are on disability due to mercury poisoning from amalgam.
They have not convinced the American Public Health Association, a majority of whose members declined in 2013 to ratify a policy somewhat hastily pushed through by ADA allies in late 2012, so APHA no longer endorses dental amalgam as safe and effective for use.
The U.S. signed the Minamata Treaty in Japan this year to phase out use of mercury worldwide, in all products, to reduce the burden of this potent neurotoxin on human health. But when it comes to dental amalgam mercury, the U.S. takes baby steps, backward steps, bumbling steps.
Industrial and medicinal mercury gave us Mad Hatter’s Disease, Pink’s Disease for toddlers and children, Minamata Disease in Japan, and took down a number of venerated nurses and healers, including Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale.
We need a house call, and a wake up call, from the Surgeon General. May he come soon to save us from ourselves and our dentists, so we can all get and stay healthier and make the need for health care fall for the first time in the U.S.
Laura Henze Russell is the Founder of Hidden River Health Challenge: A Social Innovation Enterprise Promoting Health.