Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Gasp! Mercury!!

So, a couple weeks ago, the award-winning local daily put this article on the front page.

Pretty standard alarmist stuff. I was mad that although they quoted the directors of local dental societies, who ostensibly represent dentists, they didn't bother going to the trouble to find an actual dentist to discuss this issue. Oh, they found Dr. Fischer, "past president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology." His site, which I won't even justify with a hyperlink (google if you like) discusses the imminent danger not only of silver fillings but of fluoridating the water.

Now here's my deal. If someone asks me not to use silver fillings due to concerns about mercury, I'm OK with that. Better safe than sorry, maybe (even tho', as all dentists know, there's no scientific evidence to support the "silver fillings will hurt/kill you theory). Hey, I personally have an unproven superstition that if you hit the "To Cross" button at the crosswalk an even number of times, it will DEactivate the signal. (On...off...on...off) So I always do it 3-5 times.

But when you get to the anti-fluoridationists, I just get mad. I can respect anti-mercury filling people despite their lack of evidence. But the others.... wow, they feel compelled to lobby against the single most cost-effective public health practice on the planet, thereby primarily harming those who can least afford it: Uninsured children, or kids with non-compliant parents.

The other thing seems to be the way the article is structured. They lead off with all these super-scary mercury facts. THEN, at the END of the article, the opponent of mercury fillings states, "We can’t say it will cause harm, but we know there is no benefit."

We can't say it will cause harm, but.... Kinda specious, in my opinion. The SAME poll they use (Zogby) states that of those patients who actually discuss fillings with their dentists, more than HALF feel that they'd be likely or somewhat likely to go ahead and use silver if necessary. Not reported in the article. Thbbt.