For the 11th consecutive year, we celebrate our annual Mercury Awareness and Mercury-Free Dentistry Week. Charlie Brown (executive director, Consumers for Dental Choice) will be joining us once again. He is also a former West Virginia attorney general.
This week, we’ll double the amount of your donations to Consumers for Dental Choice and match it dollar for dollar until $150,000. Because eliminating mercury from dental care is so important for human health and the environment, I am committed to this annual fundraising.
“Huge numbers of people worldwide … die directly from pollution, toxins in the air, toxins in our body. And one of the huge culprits since the Civil War has been dentistry, the dentists who continue to put mercury in the mouth,” Brown says.
Although it has proved difficult and costly to remove mercury from dentistry, Brown continues to persevere and uses his networking and diligence skills to help him get the ball moving.
More Dentists Than Ever Shun Amalgam
Fortunately, there have been brave forerunners who shunned amalgam early on, and these dentists have paved the way toward a healthier profession and safer dental treatment. Brown began this campaign when only 3 percent of dentists had mercury-free status. These doctors were instructed to avoid talking about the harmful effects of amalgam (or mercury) in their practice.
“That’s how I got into this, being their lawyer and raising their constitutional right to tell the truth to patients,” Brown says. “The American Dental Association intentionally called them silver fillings, because [they wanted patients to think] gold fillings are made of gold so silver fillings must be made of silver.
It was enforced by the dental boards with its gag rule so that very few dentists could speak up. For speaking out, some were expelled. Others managed to evade it but still had to fight. The FDA was silent about this issue in the beginning dentists. Those who did speak out could be punished, and the FDA was silent.
The state dental board is supposed to protect you [the patient], not the dentist, and the American Dental Association was supposed to represent the profession, but it really just represents products in the way it advocates for them and advocates for the status quo and the FDA.
They were of no assistance then. The schools didn’t teach advanced dentistry. They only taught fill, drill, and bill. This was an enormous barrier that they had to cross. It was never used. It is now used every day. It can be found in laws of the states. The treaty contains a comprehensive treaty regarding mercury and amalgam.
The awareness of mercury and amalgam is greater now than in the past, so we need to ensure it’s widespread. We must also address the bureaucracies of dental clinics, insurance companies and other organizations that want to keep amalgam alive for another generation.
Important Health Information
While removing amalgam can be a direct boon to your health, it’s crucial to have it done by a biological dentist who understands the risks and can do it safely. My amalgam was removed by a dentist that I didn’t know anything about. I also suffered severe liver damage from the toxic dumping.
A great resource if you’re looking for a biological dentist trained in the safe removal of amalgam is ToxicTeeth.org’s Find a Dentist page. This site allows you to search for qualified dentists by country/state and/or service. Other excellent sources include IABDM.org and holisticdental.org. You can also contact Brown via email, at Charlie@toxicteeth.org.
“We certainly welcome inquiries because people do need to find the right dentist,” Brown says. The dentists who put this amalgam in are not the ones that should remove it. It is best to visit a dentist who isn’t afraid of the toxicity. When they do remove it, they are extremely careful.
And [amalgam fillings] shouldn’t come out of everybody. It is important to have a medical assessment to assess the risk of this substance coming out. Also, it must be determined how it can be minimized once it has been removed.
It is important to remember that most cavities can be traced back to poor eating habits. It would be ideal to educate and train your grandchildren so they can make healthy choices and avoid any potential dental problems.
Progress Update for the United States
After Consumers for Dental Choice launched a no-holds-barred campaign at the start of 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was persuaded to break its silence and to update its recommendation on amalgam in September 2020.
At that time, the U.S. government was far behind other countries. Brown was elected as president of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry. This alliance achieved three consecutive years the Minamata Convention’s goal to make amalgam reduction a part of its treaty goals. The United States became the first country in the world that ratified the Minamata Convention in 2013. With 50 other ratifiers the treaty was legally binding in 2017.
The World Alliance under Brown was able to launch campaigns in all parts of the globe, as well as create regional centers for environment health in Asia and Africa.
Consumers for Dental Choice created the Chicago Declaration to End Dental Industry Mercury Use in 2018 and created an open petition for FDA to ban amalgam for children. This record of success put pressure on America to get behind. The petition is now supported by over 80,000 Americans. Brown managed to get a meeting at the FDA.
FDA formed a scientific advisory group to assess the evidence, make recommendations, and then in September 2020 unveiled their latest recommendation. This recommends that pregnant women and mothers, along with anyone suffering from a kidney problem, neurological disease or sensitivity to mercury, avoid amalgam. As explained by Brown:
“Americans and Canadians sometimes say, ‘How come you’re helping all over the place [and not here]?’ Brown explains that Americans and Canadians sometimes ask each other, “How come you’re helping all over the place?”. The answer is it goes back. We met the Center for Devices’ Director in 2018, to discuss the European Union’s recent actions.
[The EU] The European Union had prohibited amalgam in children below 15 years of age, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. Protecting people against amalgam was a priority for the European Union over the United States. They knew they needed to take action. Our campaign prompted the European Union to take action. We’ve got a campaign there since 2011 … Italy, this past year, phased out amalgam. It’s the most important country in Europe to achieve this.
Although some of them were smaller, like Moldova and Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic or Slovakia, Finland, Ireland, Slovakia, Slovakia, Finland or Slovakia, others have done it. However, Italy is the largest country within the European Union, as well as the first Mediterranean nation that has been amalgamated. So, these kinds of steps reverberate, because if [amalgam is] not safe in Italy, it’s not safe here either.”
US Goals and Campaigns
To keep the ball moving up the court, Brown has now put together a new team that, as of January 2021, has been working with the U.S. federal government to eliminate amalgam from federal dental programs for government employees, Native American and Alaska Native children, prisoners, military personnel and Medicaid recipients.
“We won’t let a two-tier system develop where mercury is free for middle-class people and mercury for the poor. Our movement will not allow them to be left behind. We are empowering people …
We have a great team. Over the years we built this team brick by brick. We have the energy and the will to win. We have one mission: our organization. This is why we ask people to donate. Our mission is to eliminate all forms of amalgam.
We are here because of that single mission and my experience. We can be found where the government is. We’re efficient. We’re efficient. We have a track record, but we need the help of the American and Canadian public to see this through,” Brown says.
American dentist schools will also be changed by the campaign 2021. Some dentists have stopped using amalgam dental restoration in their clinics. Others haven’t. This toxic, outdated and dangerous relic should be abandoned by dental schools.
Progress Update for Europe
In 2020, the European Commission decided to recommend that the European Parliament and the European Council phase out the use of amalgam for everyone — a crucial step toward a total ban in the European Union’s labyrinthine regulatory system.
This decision, if the Council and Parliament act upon it, will have a major impact on 27 countries. While some countries are already at the top of the list, such as Italy and Spain, others will follow. Now, the Commission has to propose legislation to Parliament. This is expected to happen in 2022.
“We’re optimistic because we’ve had success in the Parliament, but it’s a complicated battle,” Brown says. “This past year, we issued the Bonn Declaration for Mercury-Free Dentistry for Germany [with more than 50 German organizations signing on]. It’s made a significant impact.
Frankfurt Paper, Germany’s leading newspaper, published a headline titled “Amalgam Out” or “Amalgam Aus”. The German newspaper Frankfurt Paper called amalgam the “brown coal” of dentistry. This is the end of it. This is just not possible anymore. We are seeing this kind of improvement in Europe.
Update on the Minamata Convention
As mentioned, amalgam is also part of an international treaty, called the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which is supervised by the United Nations Environmental Program. After being ratified in 2017 by 50 countries, it became an internationally binding treaty. This mercury treaty has been ratified by 130 countries. It aims to reduce and eventually eliminate mercury pollution.
“Our battle in 2022 will be at that conference when they reconvene,” Brown says. I lead the international campaign. “I am the President of the World Alliance for Mercuryless Dentistry. We have regional centers we’ve created to make sure this campaign’s going everywhere …
We could not have put together the World Alliance for Mercury-free Dentistry; we could not put together our multifaceted U.S. campaign without you being our chief funder. We are grateful to you for matching the donations during Mercury Awareness Week.
Each year the Minamata convention is held. The next meeting will be in 2022 Indonesia. A proposal was made by all African regions to amend the law so that amalgam can be phased out in every country.
It has been proposed by the European Union that it be phased out or ended at a specific date, for both children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. So, we have two great proposals to shift the focus of amalgam from phasing down [in certain countries] … [to] phasing it out for everybody, and that’s going to be the titanic battle.”
Progress Report for Developing Countries
The entire continent of Africa is now onboard with phasing out amalgam. Guidelines were released in 2020 for Tanzania to implement a phase-out plan that would last three years. The process to phase out mercury from dental amalgam for all ages, including children and pregnant women is now at two years.
We can accomplish the mission. Here, we are ready to win. We will win in Europe. We will win the Minamata Convention in Indonesia next year. ~ Charlie Brown
Tanzania’s success demonstrates that it’s not a matter of economy. The per capita income in Tanzania before the pandemic was $995 annually. They can easily make this change, which proves that it is not too expensive to get rid of amalgam. All it takes is willpower.
All those people that I have met over the years want amalgam to be ended. They don’t look like the American or Canadian group that is tied to money, protectionism, insurance, and all cash flows. They are here to support their fellow citizens.
The barriers may be less when you travel outside the West. It would seem that there were more. Although they are fewer, we have been breaking down all the walls right here in the USA. You’ve helped do that, and we hope everybody listening will at least consider helping us,” Brown says.
Call to Action: Help Us End Toxic Mercury in Dentistry
The first time I met Brown was in Schaumburg, Illinois, at a dinner party. Brown had flown from London and was staying in a nearby hotel. Because he did not want to spend the funds, he walked all the way and didn’t take a taxi. This demonstrated to me a commitment and financial responsibility I can’t match. Since then, Consumers for Dental Choice has been my financial supporter.
Consumers for Dental Choice doesn’t allow you to spend too much on donations. Each penny is used to support the cause. Brown’s foundation will make sure that you feel safe knowing that you are helping people around the globe. Every dollar donated to Brown’s organization will be doubled up until $150,000 this week.
“The mission is something we can finish,” Brown says. The mission has one purpose. The team is there. As a former attorney general and lawyer, I have the necessary experience. It’s a wonderful group of people I work with in America and Canada.
These people are committed. It was a difficult task to create this team, but it has been built and is now ready to go. This is where we are ready to win. We will win in Europe. We will win the Minamata Convention in Indonesia next year.