Dentists in California are the first in the world who are legally obliged to display a warning about the dangers of mercury in amalgam fillings.
The warning, which must be displayed in the surgery, doesn't mince its words, even though it was agreed by a California superior court. It states, in part, that amalgam fillings can 'cause birth defects or other reproductive harm', while root canal work uses 'chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer'.
The ruling, which may well be adopted by other states, follows a lawsuit filed in California on behalf of a public health foundation. Women who say their mercury fillings caused their children's autism have also filed lawsuits in Georgia, Texas, and Ohio.
Separate suits have been lodged in Maryland, California and New York against the American Dental Association for misrepresenting amalgam fillings as being 'silver'. The fillings, say the suits, actually contain 50 per cent mercury by weight, and which cause continuous exposure to mercury and so pose substantial health risks to some.
(Source: Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, 2003;238: 19).