FDA’s Proposal to Curb Mercury Fillings Was Secretly Overruled by Senior Government Officials

A much-needed proposal was hypocritically rejected, then buried—and this time it wasn’t the FDA’s fault.


Action Alert!

A recent news report revealed an FDA proposal from 2011 that would have told dentists to avoid using mercury fillings in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and people with mercury allergies, kidney diseases, and neurological problems. It also contained a more general alert to dentists asking them to consider alternatives to mercury fillings on all patients.

This proposal was generated after FDA officials reviewed scientific literature and, at a “town hall” meeting, heard from dental patients who described the health problems they experienced with mercury fillings.

Unfortunately, the FDA’s proposal was rejected by senior officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after a so-called cost-benefit analysis was performed. It was then hushed up. According to HHS, out-of-pocket costs to patients would triple if alternative fillings replaced mercury, and an Obama Administration official said the increased cost would disproportionately affect low-income Americans. We wonder if what they really meant was that it would cost Medicare and Medicaid—that is, the government itself—too much money?

Mercury fillings—also called amalgam fillings—are blends of mercury and other metal alloys like silver (for a long time, in a deliberate deception, dentists called them “silver fillings” to avoid the stigma attached to mercury). The fillings release very low levels of mercury vapor that patients inhale continuously. Patients with multiple fillings, of course, inhale more vapor. Certain activities, such as chewing, brushing, or drinking hot liquids, can increase the amount of vapor released.

Mercury is a Deadly Neurotoxin. When mercury gets into the central nervous system, it has a half-life of between fifteen and thirty years. Once it’s inhaled into the lungs, it enters the bloodstream and can accumulate in the kidneys, liver, and brain. The effects of exposure to mercury are devastating. Studies have shown mercury fillings to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmunity, kidney dysfunction, infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, neurotransmitter imbalances, food allergies, multiple sclerosis, thyroid problems, and an impaired immune system. Mercury in the nervous system is especially harmful, causing all sorts of problems: tremors, insomnia, polyneuropathy, headaches, weakness, blurred vision, and more.

Public concern about the toxic effects of mercury has increasingly caused many dentists to turn to alternative fillings. But mercury fillings are still widely used by dentists serving some of our most disadvantaged populations—in the taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs, in the military, in prisons, and on Indian reservations.

HHS’s behind-the-scenes rejection of FDA’s proposal is especially inexcusable given the recent United Nations ban on mercury, both in the products themselves and in processes where mercury is released. If 140 countries can agree that mercury should be removed from consumer products, why is HHS adamant about keeping mercury in the mouths of poor people—while hypocritically expressing concern for those same poor people?

The proposed FDA warning didn’t even go very far. It includes numerous statements such as “there is no direct evidence of harm” from mercury fillings in the general population.

It should be noted that some of the alternatives to mercury fillings, such as composite fillings, are not without risks. We’ve previously reported that bisphenol-A (BPA)an endocrine disrupter linked with cancer, birth defects, and heart disease—can be found in some composite tooth fillings. There are no perfect options, but well-informed consumers should be able to make their own decisions.

That the proposed FDA warning, half-hearted as it was, remained secret for so long is especially worrisome. How much other information is being withheld from the public at the behest of special interests—or for other political reasons?

This story is also a reminder that even the FDA has overseers who exercise control over it. In this case, the agency tried to move in the right direction and was overruled by its political masters.

Action Alert!

Write to the Department of Health and Human Services and tell them how disappointed you are to learn that this warning from the FDA was rejected and then kept secret. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin and should be removed from all fillings to protect the health and safety of all Americans. Please send your message immediately.


Toxic Chemical Footprints of Everyday Items

Published on Alternet (

The Horrifying Toxic Chemical Footprints of Everyday Items
OnEarth Magazine [1] / By Susan Freinkel [2]

Toxic Chemicals
September 11, 2014  |
This story originally appeared at [3]

In a 2007 Skidmore College museum exhibit titled Molecules That Matter [4], the exhibit’s curators noted that we are never more than three feet away from something plastic. That stunning statistic reflects just how thoroughly plastics permeate the fabric of our daily lives. So it’s sobering, then, to consider that the plastics industry is one of the largest consumers and users of chemicals known to be hazardous to human health or to the environment.

The process by which fossil fuels are transformed into an iPhone case—or a toothbrush, a Barbie, a soda bottle, a car seat, or countless other objects—consumes a mindboggling 244 million tons of toxic chemicals, according to a recent report [5]. The recipes for many of our most common consumer plastics include carcinogens such as benzene and styrene, as well as hormone-disrupting phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA). Indeed, 96 percent of the BPA that gets produced in our labs goes toward the manufacture of plastics.

Consumers have been concerned about the issue for years. But with plastic playing such an essential role in the global marketplace, the public demand for more information about the relative safety of different kinds of plastic has been met with a mostly tepid response from manufacturers.

Enter the Plastics Scorecard [6], a new tool that has been designed to evaluate the chemical footprints of these omnipresent materials. As far as I can tell, the Plastics Scorecard represents the first time that anyone has ever tried to bring this level of (you’ll pardon the pun) transparency to plastics. The hope, of course, is that—as with similar tools that are capable of analyzing the chemical footprints ofelectronics [7], cosmetics [8], and cleaning products [9]—the Plastics Scorecard will encourage manufacturers, brand owners, and retailers to reduce industry’s reliance on hazardous chemicals that are, as of right now, such an integral part of plastics production. “We’re trying to lay out a framework that companies could use to make decisions about what would be a safer plastic,” says Mark Rossi, co-director of Clean Production Action (CPA [10]), the Boston-based nonprofit that designed and produced the scorecard.

As Rossi and his colleagues were putting their scorecard through its paces in order to test its efficacy, their findings underscored the scope of the problem. For starters, they learned that there really are no inherently “safe” raw plastics. Five of the ten common plastics that the team evaluated received failing scores—zero out of a possible 100 points—due to the fact that toxic chemicals were used at every single stage of their production. That ignoble group included well-known problem plastics like PVC [11] and styrene [12], but also included lesser-known materials such as polycarbonate (used for compact discs), styrene butadiene rubber (often used for tires and the heels of shoes) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (found in an array of products, including musical instruments, golf clubs, and Legos).

Even the least hazardous plastic they evaluated—polylactic acid [13] (PLA), the corn-based plastic that’s typically found in compostable foodware—only rated a middling 58 points, according to their scale. The tough ratings reflect the fact, as Rossi put it, “very few chemicals are inherently safe.” Still, dinging PLA, which is a relatively benign material, does raise the question of whether the scorecard is “too challenging,” he admits. (They may revisit the issue in version 2.0 of the scorecard, he adds.)

And as their accompanying report made clear, it’s not only the type of plastic that matters: what you do to it matters, too. Equally implicated in the toxicity profile of any given plastic are many of the additives that give it certain properties the marketplace demands: that make it stronger, or more flame retardant, or more flexible, for example. Often, these are the very chemicals most likely to off-gas or leach out. (Read Full Article)


Sri Lanka First Country to Ban Monsanto’s Glyphosate Due to Study on Chronic Kidney Disease
By Christina Sarich
Forget the tit-for-tat tactics in the EU and the U.S. causing the political steamrollering of anti-GMO activists. Behold the light at the end of the tunnel: Sri Lanka has become the first country to ban Monsanto’s toxic RoundUp Ready chemical, glyphosate, in light of recent studies linking it to chronic kidney failure.

The Minister of Special Projects S.M. Chandrasena decided to ban Monsanto’s glyphosate for good, old-fashioned reasons – it isn’t good for people. On the directive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, all glyphosate sales in Sri Lanka are now illegal. During a media briefing, the Sri Lankan president stated that several programs had been implemented to prevent the high occurrence of kidney disease among farmers in communities throughout the country. There have been dramatic increases in kidney disease, including total kidney failure in the US, Sri Lanka, and other countries that farm genetically modified organisms supposedly resistant to glyphosate.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that glyphosate was directly linked to these deaths, and Sri Lanka made their decision shortly after a similar ban in El Salvador for the same reason.

Even US regulatory bodies, known for hiding facts about deleterious effects of GMOs, are showing higher incidence of kidney disease linked to glyphosate: the USDA, National Cancer Institutes, Centers for Disease Control, all reveal that people are being slowly killed by Monsanto’s chemical cocktail, sold to unsuspecting farmers trying to turn a profit on their labors.

Sri Lanka has taken an anti-GMO stance for years now, since they banned GMOs back in 2003. Meanwhile, our own FDA still asks for public commentary on its site, and begs for ‘scientific proof’ that GMOs are deadly, all while ignoring the facts.

This article was published at NationofChange at:

All rights are reserved.

Agent Orange Corn?

Published on Alternet (

FOODS_AO-CORN ‘Agent Orange Corn’: Biotech Companies Are Waging a Chemical Arms Race on Our Food Supply    —  Food Revolution Network [1] / By John Robbins [2]

Agent Orange Corn‘: Biotech Companies Are Waging a Chemical Arms Race on Our Food Supply
January 16, 2014  |

The Obama administration announced [3] last week that it expects to approve corn and soybeans that have been genetically engineered by Dow Chemical company to tolerate the toxic herbicide — 2,4-D. They are planning this approval despite the fact that use of this herbicide is associated [4] with increased rates of deadly immune system cancers, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, birth defects, and many other serious kinds of illness and reproductive problems.

Weed ecologists are unanimous in warning that approval of these crops will lead to vast increases in the use of this poisonous chemical. Researchers at Penn State [5] say that in soybeans alone, planting of crops resistant to 2,4-D would increase the amount of 2,4-D sprayed on American fields to 100 million pounds per year — four times the current level. The researchers predict a cascade of negative environmental impacts, and add that the increasing use of the herbicide would actually worsen the epidemic of superweeds it is intended to address, by causing weeds to become resistant to multiple herbicides.

A coalition of 144 farming, fishery, environmental and public health groups have asked [6] the USDA not to approve the 2,4-D resistant crops. Citing studies that predict dire consequences to both human and environmental health, they add the concern among farmers that 2,4-D would drift onto their property and kill their crops, causing serious economic damage in rural communities.

But you have a chance to prevent this from happening. We have now entered a 45 day period during which the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comments.

The biotech industry continually reassures [7] public officials and the public that genetically engineered foods reduce the amount of pesticides applied to our crops. Is this claim scientifically valid? Or is it just a myth propagated for PR purposes?

A recent study, conducted at Washington State University, provides a conclusive answer. The study was authored by agronomist Charles Benbrook, a former executive director of the National Academy of Sciences. Using official US Department of Agriculture data, he and his team of researchers looked at the effect on pesticide use of the first 13 years (from 1996 to 2008) of GM crop cultivation in the United States. (Read Full Article)

Chemicals: Tested or Not?

News Analysis

Think Those Chemicals Have Been Tested?

By Published: April 13, 2013

MANY Americans assume that the chemicals in their shampoos, detergents and other consumer products have been thoroughly tested and proved to be safe.

Sally Thurer

This assumption is wrong.

Unlike pharmaceuticals or pesticides, industrial chemicals do not have to be tested before they are put on the market. Under the law regulating chemicals, producers are only rarely required to provide the federal government with the information necessary to assess safety.

Regulators, doctors, environmentalists and the chemical industry agree that the country’s main chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, needs fixing. It is the only major environmental statute whose core provisions have not been reauthorized or substantively updated since its adoption in the 1970s. They do not agree, however, on who should have to prove that a chemical is safe.

Currently this burden rests almost entirely on the federal government. Companies have to alert the Environmental Protection Agency before manufacturing or importing new chemicals. But then it is the E.P.A.’s job to review academic or industry data, or use computer modeling, to determine whether a new chemical poses risks. Companies are not required to provide any safety data when they notify the agency about a new chemical, and they rarely do it voluntarily, although the E.P.A. can later request data if it can show there is a potential risk. If the E.P.A. does not take steps to block the new chemical within 90 days or suspend review until a company provides any requested data, the chemical is by default given a green light.

The law puts federal authorities in a bind. “It’s the worst kind of Catch-22,” said Dr. Richard Denison, senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. “Under this law, the E.P.A. can’t even require testing to determine whether a risk exists without first showing a risk is likely.”

As a result, the overwhelming majority of chemicals in use today have never been independently tested for safety.





Brazilian Blowout? Women Fight Off Fumes for Beautiful Hair – ABC News

Brazilian Blowout? Women Fight Off Fumes for Beautiful Hair – ABC News.
Brazilian Blowout? Women Fight Off Fumes For Beautiful Hair

Nov. 5, 2010

Just how far will women go for straight hair?

A new wave of life-changing chemical, straightening products is becoming a must at salons across the country.

But they could be damaging your hair, and your health.

Word is spreading about a salon product that promises longer-lasting results.

Some U.S. women are lining up to get the Brazilian Blowout, a pricey method of hair-straightening that has been used by Jennifer Aniston, Lindsay Lohan, Reese Witherspoon and other celebrities.

But recent government testing shows that the trademarked products may pose serious safety risks, which the manufacturer has flatly denied.

One salon in New York is now issuing gas masks to its customers.

“When I tell my friends that I get my hair straightened and I wear a gas mask they think I’m nuts but I’m still here and it works really well, it’s life changing to me,” said Melanie Gotlin, a hair salon client.

At the Mark Garrison Salon, stylists take every precaution to keep their clients safe from the potentially harmful chemicals used in the treatment.

“I am not going to take any chances I am going to be safe,” said Mark Garrison.

The salon uses a special room equipped with air ventilators and industrial strength gas masks.

But not every salon goes to those lengths for the hair straightening trend sweeping the nation with promises of amazing before and after results.

Testing Uncovers Significant Levels of Formaldehyde (Read more)

What’s It Going to Take for Americans to Stop Eating Chemical-Laden Industrial Food? | | AlterNet

What’s It Going to Take for Americans to Stop Eating Chemical-Laden Industrial Food? | | AlterNet.


What’s It Going to Take for Americans to Stop Eating Chemical-Laden Industrial Food?

The simple act of sitting down together to eat real food on a regular basis can jumpstart the kind of lively discussions that get people engaged on the issues of the day.

Laurie David is a force of nature when it comes to lobbying on behalf of Mother Nature. An author, film producer and environmental advocate, she’s best known as the producer who convinced Al Gore that his climate-change slide show could reach a lot more folks if he made it into a movie.

David’s still concerned about melting glaciers. But her current campaign tackles another kind of erosion; the loss of community, civility and informed debate in our culture. Her latest book, The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time, makes the case that the simple act of sitting down together to eat real food on a regular basis can jumpstart the kind of lively, enlightening discussions that get our friends and family engaged on the issues of the day. And isn’t that the first step to pulling our civic discourse out of its muddied ditch?

She addressed this subject at the Omega Institute‘s Design By Nature conference in Rhinebeck, New York recently, and kindly agreed to answer a few questions while she was in my neck of the woods. So, with the historic Hudson River Valley–widely regarded as the birthplace of the modern environmental movement–as our backdrop, I sat down with David for a chat about where our country’s at.

Kerry Trueman: How does this new mission to revive dinner table discussions mesh with your environmental advocacy? Is conversation the gateway drug to conservation?

Laurie David: There are all kinds of environments. But the very first one we learn anything at is our family environment. I have teenage daughters, and I see from my own personal experience, how grateful I am that I insisted on this ritual of family dinner. It’s not just about eating, it’s about all the things that happen at the table that we’re not even conscious of.    (Read more) | “Eww Eww Toxic” | “Eww Eww Toxic”.


“Eww Eww Toxic”

That’s our new jingle for Campbell’s soup.  No more  “M’m M’m Good,” we now think “Eww Eww Toxic” is more appropriate.

According to experts, Campbell’s Soup Company still uses toxic Bisphenol A (BPA) in their canned goods, despite the fact that it’s proven harmful.We’re not going to let the company that markets directly to kids with products like Dora the Explorer “Kidshape Soups” get away with ignoring parents. Especially when parents have questions about a toxic chemical linked to breast cancer, infertility, early onset puberty, ADHD, and obesity.

Sign on now to our open letter to Campbell’s demanding a response!

Organic Food Contaminated with Rocket Fuel Chemical

Organic Food Contaminated with Rocket Fuel Chemical.

Has this Chemical Destroyed the Meaning of Organic?

Posted By Dr. Mercola | July 14 2011 | 27,669 views

chemical on organic foodPerchlorate is a pollutant and powerful endocrine disruptor that is a key ingredient in rocket fuel. It can now be found in virtually all humans tested, and it continually makes its way up the food chain through ground and drinking water, into feed and edible plants, animal products, milk and breast milk. Perchlorate contaminates conventional and organically grown food alike.

A study on perchlorate levels in North America reported that:

“Conventionally and organically produced lettuce and other leafy vegetable samples were collected from production fields and farmers’ markets in the central and coastal valleys of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Quebec, and New Jersey.

Results show that 16 percent of the conventionally produced samples and 32 percent of the organically produced samples had quantifiable levels of perchlorate … Estimated perchlorate exposure from organically produced leafy vegetables was approximately 2 times that of conventional produce … “

It is no longer possible to believe that you can avoid toxins simply by eating organic, unless something is done about the conventional and dominant food production and distribution system.


  Environmental Science and Technology December 15, 2005; 3

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