New York State Supreme Court Judge Dismisses Dental Amalgam Lawsuits

Feb. 27, 2003
Defendants hopeful that ruling will serve as a precedent for similar lawsuits pending in other states.

A New York State Supreme Court judge has dismissed two lawsuits, which claimed that dental amalgam fillings had
harmed plaintiffs. State Judge William Roy struck down two suits against the American Dental Association (ADA), the New York State Dental Society and the Fifth District Dental Society, saying the complaints failed to show a "cognizable cause of action."

"We are very pleased with this ruling, and we hope it serves as precedentfor similar suits that are pending in several other states," said James B. Bramson, D.D.S., ADA executive director. Judge Roy's dismissal represents a tremendous victory for dentistry and science over superstition and hearsay."

"But we must acknowledge the costs that these lawsuits exact," added Dr. Bramson. "Every minute and dollar we spend defending frivolous lawsuits takes away resources from dentistry's mission, which is helping to improve people's oral health."

Dental amalgam, the silver-colored filling material that dentists have used to restore hundreds of millions of decayed teeth, is made from silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which chemically binds these components into a hard, stable and safe alloy.

The lawsuits, filed last May by plaintiffs Shannon Campbell and Kids Against Pollution, alleged that the ADA, the New York State Dental Association and the president of the Fifth District Dental Society deceived the public about the health risks of dental amalgam, concealed information about its environmental impact, gagged dentists from informing patients about the health effects of amalgam, and hid an economic stake in purported

The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief, restitution, cost of testing and monitoring plaintiffs for mercury poisoning, punitive damages and reimbursement for legal fees. The court heard the motion to dismiss on February 13 and granted it on February 18 in Syracuse.