Rep. Watson, amalgam foe, will retire

Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA), the most vocal opponent of dental amalgam in the U.S. Congress, has announced that she will not seek re-election and will retire in January 2011.

Congresswoman Watson wrote and cosponsored several bills during her tenure in Congress to restrict the material's use. None of the bills passed.

During a 2009 congressional review of Medicare and Medicaid services, Rep. Watson suggested that dentists should be discouraged from using amalgam because "you have gas constantly escaping," a health concern she thought should overshadow any savings in cost.

In May 2009, Reps. Watson and Dan Burton (R-IN) circulated a petition among their congressional colleagues asking the FDA to require parents to sign a consent form before dentists can place amalgam restorations in children younger than age 18. Adults would have received a warning letter "to ensure they are fully aware of the potential harmful effects of mercury amalgam."

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