Consumers for Dental Choice was founded in 1996. Our Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry started in key states before going national and international. Along the way, we have educated consumers, increased access to mercury-free alternatives, dismantled arguments rationalizing mercury use, protected dentistsâ€™ right to speak out, and emboldened governments to stand up for mercury-free dentistry.
The goal of our Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry is to phase out the use of amalgam, a 50% mercury product. We aim to:
- Educate consumers about the use of mercury in dentistry so they can make informed decisions
- Stop dental mercury pollution
- Protect consumers â€“ especially vulnerable populations such as children and the unborn â€“ from exposure to dental mercury
- Empower dental workers â€“ dental assistants and hygienists â€“ to protect themselves from mercury in the workplace
- Promote access to mercury-free alternatives to amalgam
Our Major Accomplishments
State & Local Accomplishments
- We protected dentistsâ€™ First Amendment right to advertise, practice, and speak out for mercury-free dentistry by abolishing the American Dental Associationâ€™s gag rule. The gag rule, enforced by state dental boards, had prevented dentists from telling their patients that amalgam is mercury.
- We secured consumerâ€™s right to be informed about amalgamâ€™s mercury in several jurisdictions. In California, Maine, New Hampshire, and Philadelphia, dentists are now required to distribute â€śfact sheetsâ€ť warning consumers that amalgam is mercury.
- We made mercury-free alternatives more accessible for low-income families by ensuring Medicaid coverage for alternatives in many states.
- We obtained amalgam separator mandates in Bay-area cities. When installed in dental offices, separators filter out some of the mercury going down the drain before it enters our environment.
- We gained a resolution calling for an immediate end to amalgam use from the city of Costa Mesa, California. Other cities are now following suit.
National Highlights Accomplishments
- We compelled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to address the amalgam, a legal duty that the agency had ducked for over three decades. Our court settlement required the FDA to write an amalgam regulation on a deadline and post warnings about amalgamâ€™s neurological risks on the FDA website.
- When the U.S. FDA refused to protect consumers from amalgam, we obtained an advisory panel hearing to review the decision. The panel concluded that (1) FDA must disclose amalgamâ€™s mercury content to consumers and (2) amalgam is not safe for vulnerable populations, such as children.
- Working with a coalition of environmental organizations, we helped persuade the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to decide that it will require all dentists to install separators.
- Due to increased consumer awareness, amalgam sales in the U.S. have decreased by almost 50% since 2001.
- We are a founding member of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, the international coalition of organizations from five continents dedicated to ending dental mercury use.
- Along with our allies from the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, we participate in the negotiations for a world mercury treaty.