Dentists, Patients, Not EPA, To Make Treatment Decisions Regarding Dental Amalgam

Dec. 2, 2003
Official tells wellness and human rights subcommittee that the EPA will not "second guess" treatment decisions made by dentists and their patients.

Dentists and their patients should have the last word when it comes to treatment decisions, especially on choices regarding dental restorative materials, according to comments by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official at a recent house subcommittee meeting in Washington, D.C.

In a House of Representatives Government Reform wellness and human rights subcommittee meeting last month, Geoffrey Grubbs, director of science and technology for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), testified that the "The choice of dental treatment rests solely with dental professionals and their patients� EPA does not intend to second-guess these treatment decisions." The comments were part of the subcommittee's oversight hearing on the environmental impact of dental amalgam in wastewater.

"We are pleased to learn that the EPA has clarified its position with regard to dental amalgam," Debra S. Finney, D.D.S., president of the California Dental Association (CDA). "Dental amalgam contains elemental mercury as a basic component. CDA relies on scientific experts and research conducted by federal health agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease registry to determine if dental materials are safe. Current scientific research by these organizations supports the use of dental amalgam as a safe and effective restorative material."

Dental professionals have also cited recent research on dental amalgam that was published in the October 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, which stated that patients who have questions about the potential relation between mercury [dental fillings] and degenerative diseases "�can be assured that the available evidence shows no connection."