WHEREAS, mercury is highly toxic, more toxic even than lead or arsenic. A human being with mercury toxicity can suffer grave health consequences; and
WHEREAS, mercury is such a toxic element that it is being removed from all uses in or affecting the human body, such as vaccines, disinfectants, and thermometers, with the sole exception to date of mercury-based dental fillings; and
WHEREAS, the major ingredient of so-called "silver" fillings is mercury (43 to 54%); and
WHEREAS, many health organizations, such as the American Public Health Association, the California Medical Association and Health Care Without Harm, recommend removing mercury from all health products; and
WHEREAS, children under 18, pregnant women and nursing mothers are at particular risk from mercury exposure; and
(a) according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the United States Public Health Service, they are at risk because the mercury goes to the still-developing brain of child, through the placenta of the pregnant women to the fetus and through the breast milk of the nursing woman to the baby;
(b) several authorities, including manufacturers and the Government of Canada, warn that children and pregnant women are at particularized risk for exposure to mercury amalgam; and
(c) human teeth, and for children and pregnant women, society should always err in favor of avoiding such a risk.
WHEREAS, alternatives to mercury-based dental fillings exist, such as resin composite and porcelain; and
WHEREAS, Medicaid and many third-party payment health plans do not allow consumers to choose alternatives to mercury amalgam, so most poor children's only options are mercury fillings or no fillings at all; and
WHEREAS, low-income people are more likely to have larger numbers of mercury dental fillings; and
WHEREAS, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators has passed a resolution calling for:
(a) full disclosure of the existence and risk of mercury dental fillings;
(b) special protections for children and pregnant women, and
(c) a choice of fillings for low and moderate income Americans.
WHEREAS, a Bill sponsored by Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-Calif.) and Congressman Dan Burton (R. Ind.) would stop mercury dental fillings from being placed in children and pregnant women, provide health warnings for all and phase out mercury in dental fillings within five years.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People call for:
- Disclosure to all dental patients (a) that the main material in so-called silver fillings is mercury (not silver), (b) that mercury is toxic, and (c) that such fillings constitute a hazardous waste when removed.
- A ban on mercury-containing dental fillings being placed in young children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers.
- All Americans, including families on Medicaid and/or dental insurance plans be given a choice of dental fillings, including the right to choose alternatives to mercury fillings.
- The United States Congress give immediate consideration to the Watson-Burton Bill to phase out all mercury in dentistry within five years.
- State Legislatures to give immediate consideration to legislation comparable to the Watson-Burton Bill.