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A lawsuit with teeth in it

About the author: 

Patients become anxious if they read about the supposedly devastating effects of dental amalgam, as when it is linked to multiple sclerosis and other serious degenerative diseases

Patients become anxious if they read about the supposedly devastating effects of dental amalgam, as when it is linked to multiple sclerosis and other serious degenerative diseases. But when they ask their dentist about it, they are usually told tha

But as early as 1926, published experimental evidence demonstrated that mercury is not securely locked in the amalgam, but is steadily released from imperceptibly corroding fillings. Recent studies showed that subjects with amalgam fillings who chewed gum for 10 minutes have quite substantial amounts of mercury vapour released into intra oral air from their amalgam, around sixfold higher than prechewing levels. Brushing with toothpaste also triggers the release of mercury vapour from amalgam surfaces.

Numerous other studies with animals show that the mercury in fillings "leaks" and settles in various body tissues and can also be passed to foetuses through the placenta. Four studies have been published in Germany, Sweden and the US showing a direct correlation between mercury levels in the brain and the numbers and surfaces of amalgam fillings. Between two and 35 per cent of dental patients are found to be hypersensitive to mercury a reaction that only gradually increases over time, often after five years. (For copious other evidence of amalgam dangers, see WDDTY Vol 1 No 5 editor.)

Until recently the American Dental Association (ADA) limited its response to total denials of any danger. The ADA tried to discredit anti amalgam dentists by labelling their efforts"fraudulent". Yet on 20 September 1990 that changed dramatically, possibly forever, when a group of dentists, all ADA members, filed a class action suit against the ADA for "Breach of Contract".

When a dentist becomes a member of the ADA, the organization effectively enters into a "contract" with him. One such contractual obligation is to provide scrupulously accurate, full and pertinent information within the field of dentistry. This obligation is explicitly determined in the ADA's own Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. The code declares that statements on information concerning the practice of dentistry shall not be "false or misleading"; and must be avoided whenever any statement contains "material misrepresentation of fact" or omits "a fact necessary to make the statement as a whole not materially misleading".

The class action alleges both that the ADA has failed to provide accurate and truthful information pertaining to mercury amalgam fillings, but instead provided misinformation, knowing that it was inaccurate, false, or materially misleading and incomplete.

At present, each party must disclose evidence supporting its position. This means that the ADA will now need to reveal the so far undisclosed scientific evidence, apparently known to them for many years, showing that amalgam is stable and totally safe in the mouths of dental patients.

Asbestos, DDT and lead were long thought to be safe. In every case the scientific misgivings about their safety were immediately dismissed by those responsible for the distribution or use of the material. Initially, these assertions of safety were supported by government bodies. Only as the evidence became irrefutable and legal liability imminent were strict regulations imposed or the products withdrawn from use.

Author Michael R Weiner once aptly said, ". . . only political actions will stop the seepage of toxins [like mercury] at their source."

Such political action has finally begun for mercury in the law courts of the US, with international ramifications for dentists and any future dental patient who wants to know whether the silver in his mouth is really safe.

Harald Gaier is author of the Thorson's Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Homoeopathy, an exhaustive, quick reference guide for practitioners and interested laypersons.


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