WHY CONSUMERS FOR DENTAL CHOICE SUED THE CALIFORNIA DENTAL BOARD
by Charlie Brown
Regretfully, on December 9, 2003 we were compelled to file suit against the California Dental Board, the President, and the Executive Officer. The current Fact Sheet being given to patients is illegal. It does not state the risks of mercury
fillings as required in Proposition 65 (language agreed to by California Dental Assoc.in January, 02, which the CDA itself then mailed to every dentist in March. Apparently CDA has now flipped its position and opposes what it wrote).
In addition, the Fact Sheet is not written in consumer-friendly language, as
mandated in the Figueroa amendment.
The CDA ignorantly wants to block information about the risks of mercury fillings from patients, even though the group warns their members that they should never allow amalgam to touch THEIR skin (certainly oneโ€s tongue will come into contact with mercury fillings once in the mouth). In January, Attorney General Lockyer endorsed, and a S.F. court ordered, that CDA issue Proposition 65 warnings to all dentists.
The California Dental Board is required to hand out a Material Fact Sheet that lists the โ€risksโ€ of mercury fillings, including (in our view) the Proposition 65 warnings, which states that exposure to mercury causes birth defects. For 11 years, the Board has failed to follow the law, hiding the risks of mercury fillings. For four years, the Board has promised to give warnings in plain language to parents and pregnant women about the damage that mercury can cause to developing brains. (Amalgam fillings are 50% mercury; we therefore call them mercury fillings not "silver".) A fact sheet is always coming soon, just around the corner. Justice delayed is justice denied, and itโ€s time that California citizens receive an honest fact sheet, not one that hides the risks of mercury fillings.
The Board promised such a fact sheet in December 1999, in June 2000, in August 2001, in July 2003, and in November 2003. The resolution in November 2003 also promised a special meeting this month and a vote on the Fact Sheet. Now we see backsliding on even that simple promise. We are not sure the precise moment when justice delayed becomes justice denied, but we do know that pregnant women need this information now, not in six months, and they are not getting it under the current Fact Sheet.
Charles G. Brown, national counsel
Consumers for Dental Choice