Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/15/1997 04:55 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.