Californian city bans dental amalgam


At the end of October, the city council of Costa Mesa (in Orange County, California) approved a non-binding resolution calling on state and federal agencies to take steps “to eliminate the use of mercury in dental practices.” As a result, Costa Mesa now claims to be “the first city in America to endorse a ban on dental amalgam.”

The resolution opposing the use of dental mercury includes resolving clauses requesting that all dental practices in Costa Mesa “voluntarily cease use of dental amalgam” and directing that copies of the resolution be disseminated to the other 33 cities in Orange County.

“While this action does not have the force of law, it is extremely troubling,” said California Dental Association president Dr. Thomas Stewart.

“The passage of this unfortunate resolution is a reminder to us that we need to be vigilant in monitoring all branches of government to make sure policymakers receive accurate information about dental issues. We would like to see Costa Mesa City Council members reconsider this issue once they have all the facts.”

In an agenda report prepared for the council’s Oct. 19 meeting, the city manager said, “It is unclear at this time as to whether the City of Costa Mesa, as a general law City, has any legal authority to ban the use of Dental Mercury. As a general rule, regulation of the medical professions is outside the purview of local government. However, the City clearly has the authority to express as a matter of public policy its support for a ban on Dental Mercury and to convey that support to the appropriate State and Federal authorities.

“This is a matter of public policy in expressing the City’s position. Should the City Council adopt the attached Resolution, it will represent a policy statement on behalf of the City but does not have the force of law.”

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