For the second time in 60 days, a “town meeting” conducted by FDA’s Center for Devices has turned into a major media event highlighting the agency’s failed amalgam policy. Texans confronted Center for Devices Director Jeff Shuren in March; Floridians turned out en masse in Orlando on March 5, outraged over FDA’s failure to protect even children from dental mercury. The event was not only front-page news in Florida – it reached press outlets clear across the country: the Los Angeles Times proclaimed that “Mercury in dental fillings comes under fire at FDA meeting in Orlando.”
Among the witnesses was the venerable Sam Queen, the long-time guiding hand of the mercury-free dentistry movement via his work with the Wallace Research Foundation, his treatise on mercury (co-authored with his wife Betty), and his Institute for Health Realities. Orlando dentist Jim Hardy, whose book Mercury Free has educated so many delegates at the mercury treaty negotiating sessions, testified. So did Bernie Windham, president of Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions (DAMS), who presented his prodigious research on amalgam. They were joined by dentists, other health professionals, and consumers from all over Florida. Freya Koss of Philadelphia served as organizer, liaison with FDA, and press spokeswoman. (Dr. Shuren told Freya: “I see you more than I see some members of my family.”) Just like in Texas, with cameras in his face, Dr. Shuren was compelled to answer for FDA’s inaction on amalgam – something FDA officials are able to duck when they sit behind their desks. And Dr. Shuren told the Orlando Sentinel that "If I had my druthers, I would like to say something this year,” noting that the agency would have to reconsider the scientific and legal issues surrounding the amalgam issue. It is hardly a timetable, but it’s more than FDA has been willing to say in Washington. Please join our Florida team and our Texas team in speaking out about amalgam! I encourage you to drop Dr. Shuren a note at firstname.lastname@example.orgRemember that Dr. Shuren is very concerned that Europeans are being subjected to unsafe medical devices; he recently accused European device regulators of treating consumers as“guinea pigs.” It’s time to ask Dr. Shuren why FDA is using American children as guinea pigs for amalgam – a medical device for which even FDA admits "[v]ery limited to no clinical information is available regarding long-term health outcomes in pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and children under the age of six, including infants who are breastfed." Ask Dr. Shuren whether he seriously intends to stop using American children as guinea pigs for the amalgam industry this year.Thank you!
11 May 2011
Charles G. BrownPresident, World Alliance for Mercury-Free DentistryNational Counsel, Consumers for Dental Choice