Half a dozen years ago, JAMA published a pair of studies widely and consistently touted as “proving” the safety of mercury amalgam fillings – this, despite flaws we (and others) have discussed before and despite the ethical problem inherent in the research design. As Dr. Verigin wrote shortly after it was published,
It is my conviction that neither study as designed should have been performed at all. If living beings needed to be tested, then the experiments should have been done on some other form of primate, not human children. To subject unsuspecting children and their parents to such experimentation is the very definition of cruelty.
I question the ethics of these studies. I wonder if these researchers even remember the humanitarian motto of our profession: Doctor, do no harm unto your patient.
And now the issue is being raised again.
According to a press release sent out earlier this week by DAMS, the organization has co-filed a “Crime Against Humanity” complaint with the International Criminal Court against those involved with the research.
International advocate Anita Tibau and documentary filmmaker Kelly Gallagher recently traveled to Lisbon to raise public awareness about the unethical research associated with silver/amalgam fillings, which contain 50% toxic mercury. The two Americans provided critical documents and film footage that became part of a shocking expose aired on Portuguese television last week, which prompted former victims of the CAT experiments to question the indignities and harm they incurred. The report by journalist Rita Maraffa Carvalho revealed many of the atrocities of CAT included in the complaint made to the ICC, which was co-signed by Tibau and Gallagher on behalf of the organization Mouth of Hope.
The CAT mercury experiments were conducted on children aged 8-10 from low-income families in New England and the Casa Pia orphanage in Lisbon between 1997-2005. The research was authorized by NIDCR’s project administrator Norman Braveman, and the Portuguese segment was managed by Timothy DeRouen, PhD, at the University of Washington.
The entire CAT study was funded by U.S. taxpayers’ dollars, and even when personnel at Casa Pia were convicted of running a pedophile ring abusing the children in 2002, the study continued. Also during the course of the CAT experiments, concerns were never addressed about misleading consent forms and previously published scientific studies indicating that exposure from mercury fillings was a well-known threat to human health.
The late Sandra Duffy, an Oregon attorney, noted in 2004 that the U.S. consent forms did “not disclose how much mercury exposure or absorption occurs from the fillings,” and the Portuguese consent forms, one hundred of which were signed by the same doctor for the orphans, did not even disclose that the fillings contained mercury.
Suffice it to say, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
And as they say, stay tuned for details…
Image by .Andi., via Flickr