Consumer Health Digest #13-15

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 11, 2013


Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.


Oz's irresponsible amalgam attack rebutted. On March 28, the Dr. Oz Show featured a demonstration purporting to show that brushing the teeth that contain amalgam fillings releases toxic levels of mercury vapor within the mouth. Two articles that explain why this demonstration was misleading have been published. One notes that the apparatus did not mimic real world conditions and that the operator's company is closely linked with Oz and has been a major contributor to Oz's nonprofit corporation. [Baratz RS, Barrett S. Dr. Oz's improper amalgam toxicity demonstration. Dental Watch, April 8, 2013] The other article provides a sentence-by-sentence analysis of the program's transcript. [Barrett S. Analysis of Dr. Oz's unwarranted attack on amalgam fillings. Quackwatch, April 9, 2013] The Dr. Oz Show too often provides a platform for unscientific viewpoints (including anti-vaccination and anti-fluoridation) and promotes useless products.


Anti-amalgamist ordered to stop diagnosing "mercury toxicity." The Maine Board of Dental Examiners has disciplined Gerald E. Vermette, D.D.S., twice for improperly diagnosing and treating "mercury toxicity." In 1991, he signed a consent agreement with the board under which he (a) acknowledged that the diagnosis and treatment of mercury toxicity is a medical problem for which patients should be referred to a physician, (b) he would no longer diagnose and treat mercury toxicity, (c) he would no longer perform "repopulation of the gut, "administer vitamin C, or administer insulin in the course of his dental practice. In 2011, admitting that he had violated the 1991 order, he agreed that if the board receives reliable evidence that he continued to diagnose or treat mercury toxicity, it may summarily suspend his license pending an adjudicatory hearing. Vermette, who obtained his dental license in 1955, is listed as an accredited member in the directory of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IOMAT), a 700-member group that opposes the use of amalgam and asserts that fluoridation is ineffective and dangerous.


Leading fluoridation critic criticized. Dr. Stephen Barrett has begun the laborious task of critiquing the voluminous writings of Paul Connett, Ph.D., a retired chemistry professor who is executive director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) and its parent organization, the American Environmental Health Studies Project. Connett's followers are sufficiently organized that any community that considers fluoridating its water supply will hear from them by e-mail and possibly in other ways. An overview of Connett's activities has been posted to Quackwatch [Barrett S. A critical look at Paul Connett and his Fluoride Action Network. Quackwatch, April 8, 2013] The analysis-in-progress of Connett's main pamphlet— "50 Objections to Fluoridation"—has been posted to Dental Watch. [Barrett S. Should you trust Paul Connett? Dental Watch, April 9, 2011]


Cancer quackery promoter dies. William O'Neil, who operated Immune System Management (formerly called the Canadian Cancer Research Group), has died. Quackwatch has posted a detailed account of his activities.


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This page was posted on April 13, 2013.