Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/15/1997 04:55 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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          SB 90 DENTISTS: LICENSING & EXTEND EXAMINING BD                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SB 90 before the committee as the next order           
 of business.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 080                                                                    
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,              
 Department of Commerce & Economic Development, voiced the                     
 department's support for extending the sunset date of the Board of            
 Dentistry.  However, she said the board has concerns with Sections            
 4 and 5 relating to amalgam fillings and does not support those two           
 sections.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 097                                                                    
                                                                               
 SCOTT CROWTHER, testifying from Anchorage, stated he was testifying           
 on SB 90 because he is a dental amalgam victim.  He said the                  
 purpose of Sections 4 and 5 are to remove the dental amalgam issue            
 from the public arena into the professional area where he believes            
 it belongs.  He pointed out Colorado has recently adopted a similar           
 statute and several other states are working on the same issue.               
 European countries and Canada have taken steps to phase out and ban           
 the dental amalgam because of existing scientific documents on the            
 damage that it does to the human body.  Sections 4 and 5 will allow           
 the dentist to inform the patient of the toxic insult being                   
 received from the amalgam, and, if the patient desires, the dentist           
 can remove the amalgam and not have to be working with the threat             
 of board review as is the current situation.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 134                                                                    
                                                                               
 DR. DENNIS L. ANDERSON, an Eagle River dentist testifying from                
 Anchorage, stated he has been practicing dentistry in Alaska for              
 over 20 years.  He has served on the Board of Dental Examiners for            
 five years, part of which time he served as its chairman.  He said            
 he was trained in dental school to believe that the mercury in the            
 amalgam was retained in the filling and stayed there.  However, new           
 technology showed that the mercury vapor actually came out of the             
 amalgam fillings.  Animal studies documented that the mercury came            
 out of the fillings and went to the major organs in the body.                 
 After working around mercury for over 20 years he started having              
 neurological problems, which he found out were the result of                  
 working with mercury all those years.  He thinks dentists are in a            
 position where they can help people who may be experiencing                   
 problems because of mercury toxicity, which is in the best interest           
 of their patients.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 187                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN commented that SB 90 provides that the board may not           
 impose a disciplinary sanction on a dentist based solely on the               
 grounds that the dentist removed, replaced or recommended removal             
 or replacement of a professionally recognized restorative material,           
 etc., so the legislation is not related specifically to amalgam.              
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON said the dental board's basic concern is not                
 about choosing to put in the composite plastic fillings or the                
 metal fillings into new or old cavities.   The concern appears to             
 be that some people who have metal fillings in their mouth that are           
 not broken or defective in any way might be told by a naturopath or           
 another health practitioner that they need to go and have them all            
 taken out and replaced with the composite plastic fillings.  The              
 board is concerned about exaggerated claims relating to health                
 benefits in having the metal filling removed.  The board is                   
 concerned that in some cases people could be lead into expensive              
 treatment that won't help them and that they may not need, and                
 they would not want to be prohibited from the possibility of                  
 disciplining a dentist who was taking out peoples' existing metal             
 fillings.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 245                                                                    
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on SB 90, SENATOR MACKIE moved SB
 90 and the accompanying zero fiscal note be passed out of committee           
 with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so             
 ordered.                                                                      

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