Consumers for Dental Choice: Medicaid Programs Must Heed FDA Recommendations Against Amalgam for Children

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Consumers for Dental Choice is praising a letter from the Attorney General of Connecticut which explains that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Recommendations against dental amalgam for children, many young women, and those with certain medical conditions apply to protecting families on Medicaid.  

Charles G. Brown, Executive Director of Consumers for Dental Choice, www.mercury-free.org,  calls the Attorney General’s letter “a game changer for Medicaid programs.” “Now that the FDA has spoken.” Brown said, “it’s time for the Medicaid programs to end the primacy of putting mercury fillings in children’s mouths.” 

On September 24, 2020, FDA issued a safety communication  which called on dentists to stop placing amalgam in four broad categories of dental consumers: all children, all women who are breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant; all persons with kidney disease, and all persons with existing neurological conditions. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/recommendations-about-use-dental-amalgam-certain-high-risk-populations-fda-safety-communication

Stepping up to end the class and racial division in today’s dentistry, Attorney General William Tong of Connecticut inquired into the state’s Medicaid’s program.  In a letter to Attorney Cynthia R. Jennings, counsel for three nonprofit groups* calling for protection of low-income consumers from mercury exposure, Connecticut Deputy Attorney General Margaret Q. Chapple wrote that the AG office had confirmed that the state’s Medicaid program “changed the policy on coverage for fillings” and “now covers ‘composite’ (non-mercury) fillings…”    Therefore, the dentist for any Medicaid recipient: “who is a member of one of the vulnerable populations noted in the FDA advisory . . . can request coverage for the composite filling.” https://mercuryfreedentistry.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/letter-from-ct-ag-1-25-21.pdf

Because it is 50% mercury, dental amalgam is highly controversial, and its use has become increasingly rare among middle class consumers – but it continues unabated in institutional dentistry (military, Tribal Lands, prisons) and in low-income programs.  The dichotomy in dentistry increasingly is drawing fire, such as a 2018 commentary in the Journal of the National Medical Association entitled “Is Amalgam Toxic to Children of Color?” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002796841830258X 

Dr. Mark Mitchell, the former Health Director for Hartford and principal author of that Journal of the NMA commentary, said: “”I am pleased that FDA and the State of Connecticut are responding to the latest science which reveals that dental amalgam increases the risk of neurological and kidney damage in children of color and other vulnerable groups.”

* The three nonprofit groups requesting action from Attorney General Tong were Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, the Mercury Policy Project, and Consumers for Dental Choice.

Contact: Charles Brown, Consumers for Dental Choice
charlie@toxicteeth.org ; tele 202.246.7642

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SOURCE Consumers for Dental Choice

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