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ADA Is Not a 'Dental Trade Union'


John S. Zapp D.D.S.

Executive Director, American Dental Association, Chicago

First let me make clear that the American Dental Association is no a party to any proceeding involving Dr. Mark A. Breiner.

The American Dental Association is not, as asserted in the article, "a dental trade union." 

Rather, the ADA is a nonprofit professional association dedicated to encouraging improvement in the health of the public and promoting the art and science of dentistry.

The ADA, through its Council on Scientific Affairs, evaluates the safety and efficacy of dental products, including materials used to restore tooth structure lost because of injury or disease.  The council is made up of clinicians, educators and researchers from around the country assisted by more than 300 consultants with professional credentials.

The council has taken the position, based on current scientific knowledge, that dental amalgam is safe, effective and cost-effective restorative material for the overwhelming majority of patients who are not allergic to one of its components.  This position is shared by the U.S. public health agencies and the World Health Organization.

Contrary to what is stated in the letter, the ADA does not base its position on the fact that "mercury has been used in fillings for more than a century" or refuse "to acknowledge numerous scientific studies suggesting a potential hazard to patients."

The ADA's position is based on a comprehensive evaluation of all the scientific evidence, including the studies cited by Dr. Breiner.  The fact that dental amalgam has been used for more that 150 years without being linked to any health problem is just one piece of the total scientific evidence in support of its safety.

Contrast this "public" statement with what ADA says when its lawyers are in court trying to defend the organization from any liability stemming from the use mercury amalgam by its own member dentists (see Amalgam and the ADA).

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