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STATE DENTAL BOARD OFFICER PICKETED IN BEVERLY HILLS, ASKED TO RESIGN
DENTIST LEADS FIGHT TO COVER-UP RISKS OF MERCURY IN FILLINGS

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, Monday, August 13, 2001 -- Keeping up the pressure on the state Dental Board, anti-Mercury consumer activists held a peaceful demonstration today at the Dental Board secretary's office, asking Dr. Mark Goldenberg, DDS to resign because of his leading role in covering up the dangers of Mercury in dental fillings.

Children, pregnant women and the poor are at higher risks from Mercury amalgam fillings (state and federal medical insurance programs pay only for Mercury fillings because they are the least expensive).

Participating in the demonstration were representatives from Consumers for Dental Choice, and parents and children from the inner city -- an area highest at risk due to financial constraints and insurance restrictions.

"Dr. Goldenberg is enjoying his lucrative dental practice in Beverly Hills, and the professional prestige of serving as an officer of the state Dental Board," said Pastor Frank Williams of New Mount Olive Church in Los Angeles. "But many people in our community -- especially children and pregnant women -- are forced to have dangerous Mercury amalgam fillings put into their mouths because they are the only kind paid for by MediCal and MediCare."

Anita Vazquez-Tibau of Orange County, who has suffered from medical problems attributed to Mercury in dental fillings, explained that she had acute asthma for two decades, symptoms that began when the fillings were placed and ended when they were removed. "If the dentist had only told me that the fillings were half Mercury, I would never have put them in," she said.

"Dr. Goldenberg should be ashamed of himself," Vazquez-Tibau continued. "As a pediatric dentist, he of all people should be honest about the risks that Mercury amalgam fillings pose for children and pregnant women. Instead, he is leading the Dental Board's fight to cover-up the risks of Mercury. If he can't tell the truth about the risks of Mercury, he ought to resign from the Dental Board and make room for someone who will."

"Dr. Goldenberg, a pediatric dentist and more importantly a public official, is shamefully leading the state Dental Board's cover-up of the risks of Mercury in dental fillings, which are especially dangerous for children and pregnant women," said Lindell Tinsley, a representative of Consumers for Dental Choice. "The state Dental Board, acting as an arm of the American Dental Association, continues to argue that Mercury is safe in dental fillings, in defiance of the law and the increasing scientific evidence."

"Mercury is recognized by the state of California, under Proposition 65, as an extremely dangerous toxin," Tinsley continued. "The Dental Board and the ADA are out of the medical mainstream in claiming that Mercury is safe for use in human beings. The rest of the medical world is eliminating the use of Mercury in all other circumstances. People have the right to know the truth from the dental establishment about the dangers of Mercury."

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Background on the Dangers of Mercury and
The Controversy about Mercury in Dentistry

"Mercury, a metallic chemical that is liquid at ordinary temperatures, has been linked to several cognitive and developmental ailments in the brain, spinal cord, kidneys, liver and lungs. It is especially damaging to young children and to fetuses. After mercury is vaporized in incinerators or dumped in sewage-treatment plants, it often gathers in bodies of water, where fish ingest it. People can be poisoned when they eat fish contaminated with mercury... Perhaps the most pervasive use of mercury is in the amalgam of metals used in most dental fillings."

"Bill Seeks to Ban Use of Mercury In a Variety of Common Products" By James C. McKinley Jr. The New York Times, February 7, 2001

The state Dental Board is on the verge of being put out of business by the California Legislature for malfeasance. SB26, which would eliminate the board effective immediately, passed the State Assembly on Thursday, July 12 by a vote of 66 to 8. It will be taken up by the State Senate for an expected concurrence vote when they return from recess later this month, and then be sent to Governor Gray Davis. The bill's author, Sen. Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont), has called the Dental Board's refusal to adopt a proper Fact Sheet to advise dentists and their patients of the dangers of Mercury in dental fillings "the straw that broke the camel's back" in terms of the board's unwillingness to function in the public interest.

The Dental Board has been required by law (authored in 1992 by then-State Senator Diane Watson) to adopt a Dental Materials Fact Sheet about the risks and efficacies of dental materials. The principal dental material at issue is Mercury-based dental fillings. For nine years, the Board has refused to implement this law.

Increased media and consumer interest and concern about the dangers of Mercury resulted in the Dental Board finally addressing this issue. The Fact Sheet the Board had proposed to adopt has been determined by Governor Davis' Department of Consumer Affairs to be "[legally] deficient in numerous ways Legal staff has concluded that the statutory mandates have not been substantially complied with."

After a groundswell of opposition to the draft Fact Sheet at the Board meeting in Oakland on August 3rd, the Board reversed itself and sent the Fact Sheet back to its author for still further re-working.

 

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