John S. Zapp D.D.S.
Executive Director, American Dental
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
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
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
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).