On December 16, 1990, CBS's 60 Minutes presented an expose on dental amalgam fillings - this transcript can be found in the online book Tooth Traitors. (Chaper 6).
The below is excerpted from the article "Is Mercury Toxicity an Autoimmune Disorder?" by Keith W. Sehnert, MD, Gary Jacobson, DDS, Kip Sullivan, JD.
The dental establishment was furious with CBS. The ADA attacked CBS in the January 7, 1991 edition of its newspaper for "the irresponsible ways in which viewers were led to the conclusion that amalgam fillings are unsafe." To the contrary, said the ADA, "scientific evidence suggests mercury amalgam is safe to use." The ADA newspaper published statements by Dr. Harold Loe, director of National Institute of Dental Research, criticizing CBS for having "an obvious bias" against amalgams. Dentists all over the country received information packets from the ADA, including copies of the ADA newspaper and a 1986 article from Consumer Reports. The ADA also promoted its message in a two-minutes video news release sent to 700 TV stations on December 17, 1990, on its weekly radio show on December 18, 1990, and in its journal, the Journal of the American Dental Association.
As a result CBS backed down and never aired the program again.
However, a copy of the video can be ordered by contacting CBS at 1- 800-848-3256 and order the 1990 - 60 Minutes segment titled "Is There Poison in Your Mouth?"
Morley Safer of CBS:
"While the ADA publicly advocates the safety of amalgam, it cautions dentist to use a no-touch technique when handling the material, and to store the scrap, the leftovers that have not gone into a patient's mouth, under liquid in a tightly closed container."
"If it's so volatile, so dangerous in a dentist's hands, how on earth can it be safe in our mouths?"
"Morely, you've to to understand, uh, how amalgam really works. If it's in a free form, the mercury that is in amalgam is dangerous. But it, when it forms with the copper, the tin, the zinc, and the silver that, that make up the amalgam filling, it becomes a stable compound at that time. Once it is mixed and placed in a patient's mouth, it is a stable compound and it does not constitute a risk."
"Once it hardens......."
"What do you do with your scrap amalgam?"
"What we do in our own practice, is we keep it in a jar, that has glycerine in the jar, we pull the scrap in there, put a top on it, so that it is not exposed in any way. It's in an airtight jar all the time."
"That is the recommended way of taking care of it in a dental office. That is what's been recommended by the scientists so that's the way we do it."
"But if it's so perfectly safe in this combined state........"
"But Morely, you've got to understand when we, uh, when we're saving this stuff, we, we've got a big jar of it. you've got to realize I'm in that office 5 days a week, with this material. I do not want to go in there with an open container like that. I want to be as safe as I can."
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