Dominican Sisters of Hope, Others Question the Continuing Use of Mercury
WASHINGTON, May 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Dominican Sisters of Hope, supported by Consumers for Dental Choice and the Mercury Policy Project, will present a resolution calling on the Danaher (NYSE: DHR) corporation to transition out of manufacturing mercury fillings at the company's annual shareholder meeting at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. this Tuesday, May 5 at 3 p.m. Danaher owns Kerr, the largest manufacturer of mercury amalgam.
"Mercury is highly toxic, can cause permanent harm to a fetus, to a child's developing brain or an adult's kidneys," said Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u., a consultant in corporate responsibility who will be representing the Dominican Sisters of Hope, which owns a block of Danaher shares. "The underserved are at great risk because of the continued use of mercury amalgam. We think it is wrong to put them at such risk when there are suitable alternatives available."
Consumers for Dental Choice and Mercury Policy Project will be armed with proxies, allowing them to vote shares of stock. The groups do not expect to get a majority vote of shareholders in their favor at this meeting but are using this platform to put Danaher on notice that there is a growing tide to forever erase the use of amalgam.
"The World Health Organization says no safe level of mercury exists," commented Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project. "The good news is that there are mercury-free alternatives that Kerr sells and that dentists are already using. Several countries have already banned its use, so why doesn't Kerr take a leadership role and stop polluting the planet with mercury?"
Bender notes that mercury is both a local and a global pollutant and that then Senator Barack Obama sponsored the mercury export ban that President Bush signed into law last year. President Obama went on to support the development of a legally binding treaty on mercury in February.
"The dangers of mercury are well-documented, but there is still one industry in the United States that won't let go and that is American dentists who continue to use mercury amalgam fillings," said Charles G. Brown, National Counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice.
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Advocates point out that Kerr also makes all the other dental filling materials, it can sell more resin (now the most common filling material), a more profitable product. Indeed, an analyst's report by Bank of America Securities says dental products manufacturers would be more profitable if amalgam is banned. (www.toxicteeth.org/mercuryfillings_BOAreport.cfm).
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dental offices are the third largest user of mercury.EPA (2006) - Roadmap for Mercury p. 36 (http://www.epa.gov/mercury/pdfs/FINAL-Mercury-Roadmap-6-29.pdf)
In 2007, Bender gave testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the Environmental Risks of Mercury Dental Fillings: http://mpp.cclearn.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/benders-testimony.pdf.
|SOURCE Mercury Policy Project|
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