I am excited to have the opportunity to interview Charlie Brown, one of
my legal heroes in the battle against mercury. Charlie has been a major
force in the ground roots movement against mercury amalgams.
Although the battle with the FDA rumbles on, we are whittling away at
the barriers to progress, "hitting them upside the head" repeatedly with
facts they can't deny. And we have no plans of letting up!
This issue is just too important, too critical to your health and the
long-term health of your children.
Mercury is a potent heavy metal toxin that can poison your brain,
central nervous system and kidneys.
It is one serious toxin and it personally severely damaged my kidneys
when I had my amalgam fillings improperly removed 17 years ago.
Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at
risk, but really anyone can be impacted.
In fact, just one drop of mercury in a lake would poison the lake to the
extent that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would ban it from
Yet, unbelievably, they let you carry around a mouthful of this toxic
metal and would have you believe it somehow loses its capacity to do
harm if installed in your teeth.The average person in the U.S. has eight
amalgam fillings. Clearly, this is no small problem and calls for urgent
U.S. Lags Behind, While the World Moves Forward on Banning Mercury
The FDA has long been the world's number one protector of mercury
fillings, and the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world, and even
behind some third world countries, in protecting its citizens from this
Denmark, Norway and Sweden have essentially banned amalgams
There are 5,636 hospitals in developing countries that are committed to
or already mercury-free. The majority of these are in the Philippines,
India and Argentina.
Canada advised dentists to stop placing amalgam in children and pregnant
women in 1996 (although Canada appears to be regressing on this issue
now, thanks to the recent position taken by its Chief Dental Officer
In the United States, four out of five dental specialists still use
amalgams, and the material continues to be endorsed by the American
Dental Association. The FDA's determination to protect mercury fillings
has no doubt had something to do with its commissioner. FDA Commissioner
Margaret Hamburg has an egregious conflict of interest on amalgam, yet
participated in the rulemaking that led to FDA's disappointing ruling in
Hamburg entered the FDA through the revolving government/private
industry door after allegedly making millions as the director of Henry
Schein Inc., the largest seller of dental amalgam (mercury fillings).
The FDA has a history of stacking the deck of its advisory panels so
that the pro-industry, pro-mercury position is upheld. Yet, most
recently, the U.S. State Department has called for a "phase down" of
mercury fillings, followed by an "eventual" phase out. The State
Department's submission to the Mercury International Negotiation
Committee also called for:
Educating patients and parents (about amalgam) in order to protect
children and fetuses
Training of dental professionals on the environmental impacts of mercury
in dental amalgams
This is a very encouraging turn of events that brings us one step closer
to mercury-free dentistry for all. Even though the FDA signed on to this
statement internationally, they have yet to change the rule at home, so
your support IS still needed.
Amalgams Frequently Used as They Generate More Profit
According to a Zogby poll, 77 percent of consumers would willingly pay
more to opt out of dental amalgam in favor of safer dental fillings. If
this opt-out occurred, it would effectively reduce the number of
patients your dentist could funnel through his office on any given day.
Mercury fillings are quick and easy to put in. It isn't that composite
materials cost more—they just take longer to make. Not only can dentists
buzz through a lot of mercury amalgam fillings each day, but these
amalgams also require the destruction of quite a lot of good tooth
matter, which sets you up for more dental problems down the road…
meaning, more dental work, including root canals. It's the gift that
keeps on giving, from a dentist's perspective.
So, the perceived profitability of mercury fillings has led to what
Charlie Brown calls a "drill, fill and bill" mentality.
Fewer patients coming through the door each day isn't the only issue
striking fear in the heart of your mercury-loving dentist. Many dentists
are also wary of the possibility that thousands, if not millions, of
lawsuits could arise if they—or the FDA—admitted to the damage mercury
amalgams have done to public health. Litigation and class action
lawsuits could deliver an incapacitating blow to the dental industry.
If we are to gain the support of government regulators and the American
Dental Association (ADA), then some protection from liability must be
part of the package. This is why the environmental approach is ideal,
because it offers some insulation from liability on the part of the
dental industry, hopefully making new regulations a bit more palatable
and easier to get passed.
Mercury Fillings and the Environment
The ADA and other pro-mercury proponents have always claimed that
mercury fillings are a very cost effective way to treat dental decay.
But is this true? NOT when you examine the true cost to human health and
Mercury from dental offices is actually the largest source of mercury
found in wastewater. According to an article by Michael Bender
(co-founder of the Mercury Policy Project), at least 40 percent of
mercury flowing into municipal water treatment plants comes from dentist
offices! And urban water treatment plants are not set up to remove it,
so eventually this dental mercury will end up in the fish on your dinner
The risk doesn't end there, however.
Mercury fillings in the teeth of someone who dies actually pose a risk
to the living. Emissions from the combustion of mercury fillings during
cremation are a significant contaminator of air, waterways, soil,
wildlife and food. Seven to nine metric tons of mercury per year escapes
into the atmosphere during cremations, and it is estimated that, left
unchecked, crematoria will be the largest single cause of mercury
pollution by 2020. Sweden now mandates that all mercury fillings be
removed prior to cremation for this very reason.
When you factor in environmental costs and cleanup costs, amalgam is
actually the MOST EXPENSIVE dental material in the world!
It makes perfect sense to approach legislative change regarding amalgams
from the environmental perspective, which is why the mercury treaty has
made environmental cleanup its central focus.
A Great Alternative for Fixing Minor Cavities: Atraumatic Restorative
"Drilling and filling" is not the only option for treatment of dental
caries. For minor cavities, a less invasive and less painful technique
called Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART) has proven quite
effective, especially in underserved populations in both developing and
industrialized countries. ART involves manual excavation of the decayed
area with hand tools, eliminating the need for expensive drills and
Since ART is noninvasive, it is tolerated very well by patients, who
experience less pain than with traditional fillings. And the technique
has earned the endorsement of the World Health Organization (WHO) who
has called it an "acceptable and effective treatment to control and
prevent decay in socioeconomically deprived communities." ART is
currently used in at least 25 countries and is a regular part of dental
training programs in at least three countries. One major advantage to
this less-invasive treatment is that you don't have to be a dentist to
do it. Dental hygienists, dental assistants and other properly trained
individuals can perform ART.
The dental industry has been less than eager to hop on board, afraid
this would cut into their exclusive cavity-busting monopoly. However, I
agree with Charlie Brown that dentists would still make plenty of money
from more complicated dental work. In fact, they would probably earn
even MORE because the work that only they can perform is more
complicated—therefore more expensive to the consumer.
The complete title of the book is "Never Quit The
Back to Basics Fitness Guide ". It takes you through the four major
categories or steps to a healthier and happier you. It's not a short
term gimmicky program that we see a lot of these days.