Fluoride Action Network

Zogby Survey: Connecticut Voters Say ‘Ban Dental Mercury’

Source: Consumers for Dental Choice | August 9th, 2005

HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ — A survey conducted by Zogby International shows Connecticut voters overwhelmingly want to ban dental mercury (so-called “silver” fillings).
Zogby surveyed Connecticut voters in August and found:

* 87% support the law that prohibits the sale of mercury products in Connecticut;
* 79% did not know mercury is a primary ingredient in “silver” dental fillings;
* More than 80% support a ban on continued use of mercury fillings.

“These are startling numbers. This report should give both dental professionals and their patients something to chew on,” said John Zogby, President and Chief Executive Officer of Zogby International.
“It is apparent that Connecticut voters genuinely care about what is being put into our environment and they want to eliminate items that pollute,” said State Representative Richard Roy (D-Milford), Co-Chair of the Environment Committee. “The message to both state legislator and regulator is clear: Get dental mercury out of the environment. The numbers don’t lie. I hope Gina McCarthy (Commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Protection) will take this information into consideration as she decides the fate of dental mercury in Connecticut.”
Among other highlights in the survey, voters said they are very concerned about mercury in consumer products with 73% saying this issue was “significant.”
“Connecticut needs to take action to reduce dental mercury emissions to the environment,” said Roger Smith, Campaign Director for Clean Water Action.

“If patients don’t know that “silver” fillings are actually 50% mercury, they won’t be able to make informed decisions about their dental care or take steps to reduce mercury use.”
Environmentalists have criticized the Connecticut State Dental Association and American Dental Association for continuing use of the misleading term, “silver.” This benign word has been used to mask the reality of what is being put into the mouths of patients – and ultimately into the environment.
“The Zogby survey is clear evidence that people of this state incorrectly believe that mercury fillings are silver,” said Dr. Adam Breiner, spokesperson for the Coalition to Enforce Connecticut’s Zero-Mercury Law. “The survey also suggests that voters believe what our coalition has been saying for months – the state DEP should ban continued use of dental mercury.”

More than 80% of the voters surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for alternatives in order to keep mercury out of their mouths and out of the environment.

“Alternate filling materials have been available for years,” Dr. Breiner said. “These materials, such as tooth-colored composite resin, are only slightly more expensive then mercury fillings but they are nontoxic and won’t hurt the environment.”
“It is refreshing to see that the voters of this state see the irony of this situation. The law was established to clean up our environment yet a significant part of the problem has simply been ignored by many dentists — health professionals who are supposed to be more conscious of these issues,” said Dr. Mark A. Mitchell, President of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.

“The point of laws like the Zero-Mercury law are to eliminate polluting substances when there are viable non-toxic alternatives. In this case, we know that composites can provide the alternative needed so the state can end the use of unnecessary dental mercury,” said Betty McLaughlin, one of the Coalition organizers and the Director of Environmental Affairs for Connecticut Audubon Society.

“This is not a political issue – this is about getting mercury out of our environment so that our waterways and our air are cleaner for the generations to come. Republicans and Democrats alike are coming together to show the DEP that the people of Connecticut want this law to be enforced properly,” said T.R. Rowe (R-Trumbull).