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City Council Promotes Junk Science

If it wasn’t for the Philadelphia City Council, and the cities inept media culture that doesn’t do it’s research and ask the hard questions, I wouldn’t have nearly as much to write about. Today’s stupidity is centered around amalgam fillings:

The City Council committee okayed a bill requiring dentists to inform patients when fillings contain mercury, and to buy devices that dispose of mercury from recovered fillings. The measure goes to the full Council.

I’m glad they didn’t go as far as banning them, but I’m not in favor of forcing dentists to tell people the fillings contain mercury with the idea that amalgam fillings are not safe. This will likely scare people into unnecessarily getting the more expensive composite fillings, and many people who live in the city could use the savings.

Amalgam fillings have been in use for more than a century, and study after study have shown them to be safe. Here’s what the ADA has to say:

Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and possibly other metallic elements. Although dental amalgam continues to be a safe, commonly used restorative material, some concern has been raised because of its mercury content. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.

While questions have arisen about the safety of dental amalgam relating to its mercury content, the major U.S. and international scientific and health bodies, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among others have been satisfied that dental amalgam is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.

That’s good enough for me. We have laws being passed by City Council based on junk science and anecdotal evidence. Maybe they should hire a few fortune tellers and astrologers to advise on further laws.

One Response to “City Council Promotes Junk Science”

  1. Nomen Nescio says:

    i once got a composite filling unasked-for, in fact without the option to choose any other kind. it lasted, IIRC, two years before falling apart; i ended up losing that tooth (a molar) entirely.

    i did not at that time have medical insurance, so had to scrape up money for the cheap quick fix of extracting it. i doubt i’ll ever be able to afford the luxury of replacing it — i’m told the “right” way to replace a molar would run around $3,000 or so.

    meanwhile, all my amalgam fillings are holding fine. none of them are less than a decade old, and several are two. i suppose it’s *possible* they’ve fried my higher brain functions, i’ll let others be the judge of that…

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