Three U.S. nonprofits have petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Maine Board of Dental Practice to ensure it is enforcing the state's fact sheet law about the mercury content in amalgam fillings.
Consumers for Dental Choice, Organic Consumers Association, and Mercury Policy Project sent a petition to the FTC, stating the board is violating antitrust laws. The groups claim the board engages in actions that evade enforcement of the state law that requires every dentist who uses amalgam to provide a fact sheet about the mercury content in fillings to patients.
"As with any other state agency, the board must support, enforce, and adhere to the law," Katherine Paul, of the Organic Consumers Association, stated in a press release issued on October 31.
The nonprofits claim that the dental board advises dentists that compliance with the mandate is optional instead of required. Furthermore, the petitioners claim that the board held a secret vote to align itself with the Maine Dental Association to defeat a state law that would shift MaineCare, the state's Medicaid program, to mercury-free dentistry.
The petitioners note that the board's use of the term "silver fillings" instead of "amalgam" deceives patients. Additionally, the board needs to ensure that dentists are communicating to patients that viable alternatives are available.
The groups encourage the governor to appoint a new board if the board doesn't begin fulfilling its obligation to enforce the state law.
The board needs to stop protecting "pro-mercury dentists," said Charles Brown, of the Consumers for Dental Choice and a former antitrust law specialist.
"This board must redirect its loyalty from protecting sales of amalgam to protecting Maine's families and consumers," he added.