Mercury amalgam dental fillings have been used for over one hundred and fifty years in hundreds of millions of patients around the world. In the past two decades, scientific evidence has shown that mercury fillings have harmful effects on human health. Still, the American Dental Association maintains the position that mercury fillings are safe and should continue to be used without warning requirements. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration promulgated regulations to protect dentists and other dental workers from mercury exposure, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to provide similar protections to dental patients. Additionally, because Medicaid does not cover alternative fillings, many low-income Americans are forced to choose between mercury fillings or no fillings at all. Although other countries have banned or severely restricted the use of mercury fillings, the United States has yet to enact federal legislation on the issue. This Note argues that Congress should ban mercury fillings or, at a minimum, implement uniform warning requirements and mandate insurance and Medicaid coverage for alternative fillings.
A Toxic Mouthful: the Misalignment of Dental Mercury Regulations,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.