Wednesday, May 21, 2014


For release: May 22, 2014                

Contact: Laura Henze Russell, Principal, Hidden River Health Challenge, 339-364-0701
Elizabeth Brody, Chief of Staff, Sen James Timilty, 617-722-1222,


Sen. Timilty Working for EHS 692: For Good Health, Analyze Dental and Health Records

Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole) filed Senate Budget Amendment EHS 692 to ask the MA Center for Health Information and Analysis to include dental insurance records in their health insurance database analyses, which are used by the MA Health Policy Commission to look at trends in chronic diseases and health care costs. Biocompatibility problems with dental materials, and dental infections are major drivers of inflammation, the common cause of many chronic diseases.

Rep. Louis Kafka and Sen. Brian A. Joyce each filed a bill related to dental amalgam in 2013. They were sent to study by the Public Health Committee, but its co-chairs welcomed a related budget amendment. Three other New England states and CA provide some consumer information, and the FDA says state consumer labeling does not violate preemption. The label could include a bar code and a QR code so people can look up more product information on their cell phones. The bills will be refiled next year.

Many legislators thought dentists stopped using amalgam years ago, and are surprised it is still in use. Everyone has an interest in keeping people healthy. Dental plans should be cost neutral and subject to patient protection laws and medical necessity. MassHealth should cover alternatives to amalgam, as Pennsylvania has for years. Paying a little more upfront for biocompatible filling materials can forestall years of higher health care costs for genetically susceptible children and adults. There are a half dozen common gene types that do not clear mercury well, raising the risk of immune and neurological damage. There are numerous studies on higher rates of chronic diseases with amalgam, and occupational risks.

Hidden River Health Challenge is also releasing a new Issue Brief today to make the case for action, subtitled, How We Can Get Better & Lower Health Care Costs by Blending Old & New Knowledge, Ending Conflicts & Rebooting the Health Sector. It is time to catch up with the rest of the world, put patients instead of industry protectionism first, and end conflict regulation and conflict dentistry in the United States, says Laura Henze Russell, founder of Hidden River Health Challenge. 

Russell recovered from two decades of fibromyalgia and a year of escalating medical misery which turned out to be due to a genetic glitch in clearing mercury, which off-gases from dental amalgam. She delved into the subject in order to recover her health, and help protect others from her fate. It is astounding to me that we get no labels, and have no right of written informed consent, for installation of a dangerous neurotoxin that is considered a medical device by the FDA, says Russell.

Unlike the AMA which holds no patents so has no commercial and trade interests, the ADA was assigned 83 patents in the 38 years - 1976 to the present - in which the US patent office records are fully digitized, including two related to dental amalgam that expired in the mid-1990s. Patents granted to all sources on dental amalgam since 2002 are all related to mitigating its harm to the environment.

Russell sent in-depth letters with information on new peer reviewed journal articles on clinical trials showing harm from dental amalgam to boys with certain gene types to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, EOHHS, Division of Insurance, Attorney General, and the Sharon Board of Health. The Issue Brief is being shared with  the MA Legislature, Health Policy Commission, and stakeholders. The findings of amalgam safety from the Childrens Amalgam Trials have been retracted. The American Public Health Association declined in 2013 to ratify its interim policy that amalgam is safe and effective. Nigeria is the latest nation to end the use of dental mercury, announced May 21, 2014.

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) filed a lawsuit against the FDA March 5th for failing to respond to a petition to reconsider the flawed 2009 Class II dental amalgam ruling based on numerous errors in the FDAs risk assessment after 54 months. The Administrative Procedures Act requires a response within one year.  IAOMT is one of three dental associations opposed to the continued use of dental amalgam. It supports science and trains dentists on safe removal techniques when indicated and special equipment needed beyond a dental dam to minimize patient and staff exposure to mercury vapor.

Mercury vapor from dental amalgam, mercury from fatty fish such as tuna and swordfish, from skin lightening creams, and from old medications such as mercurochrome and merthiolate are different forms of a potent neurotoxin and human exposure from all sources should be minimized.

It took Congress 14 years to pass President John F. Kennedys bill to add medical devices to the FDA. Unfortunately, Congress never instructed the FDA to require medical devices contain the kinds of patient labels, composition information, health risks, side effects, and a number to call to report adverse events that patients get for every prescription drug, and for chemicals. We get labels on our Cheerios, and labels and health warnings on toothpaste not to swallow it, but nothing on medical devices permanently installed in our teeth. It took the FDA 33 years to classify dental amalgam, and the risk classification is flawed, outdated, and out of step with much of Europe and Canada, which have warnings and consent. Four Scandinavian countries and Japan have banned its use.

There is a growing movement for funding, running and analyzing clinical trials data by gender, led by Dr. Paula Johnson of Brigham and Womens Hospital, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and other speakers at the Womens Health Summit in Boston in March. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who sat on Henry Scheins board for six years, disagreed, saying it would be too expensive to reanalyze old studies, and we need to move forward. Biotech and medical researchers confirm the need to add gene type and gender.

Russell is a social innovation entrepreneur, economist and ethicist concerned with health and family wellbeing, an injured patient, a mother, wife and daughter with a family tree with its share of chronic diseases. After two decades of fibromyalgia, and a year of medical hell, Laura regained her health and ability to work. She faces large dental costs and lost her appeals to a great dental plan due to the FDA ruling that amalgam is still Class II, standard of care for everyone. A former ocean lifeguard, she renewed American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Trainer certifications.

Russell founded Hidden River Health Challenge: A Social Innovation Enterprise to help people learn about the impact of genes and toxins, importance of our own health information, share and take action. Hidden River is reaching out to people, stakeholders, and candidates running for office to build support for good health, integrated whole body care, and helping make chronic diseases history.
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