Resolution to Study Phase Out of Mercury Tooth Dental Fillings Receives 16% of Vote at Danaher Shareholder Meeting

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A resolution to the country's leading manufacturer of mercury amalgam to transition out of manufacturing mercury amlagam dental fillings received over 16% of the vote at the Danaher shareholder meeting on May 5 in Washington D.C. The resolution was submitted by Valerie Heinonen, representing the Dominican Sisters of Hope and supoorted by Consumers for Dental Choice and the Mercury Policy Project.

A resolution by the Dominican Sisters of Hope calling on the Danaher (DHR: NYSE) corporation to transition out of manufacturing mercury fillings, was defeated at the company's annual shareholder meeting this past Tuesday at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C., but not before receiving a total of over 43 million votes in favor (or 16.49% of the overall vote). Danaher owns Kerr, the largest manufacturer of mercury amalgam.

Supported by Consumers for Dental Choice and the Mercury Policy Project, Sister Valerie Heinonen, representing the Dominican Sisters of Hope, issued the resolution. The groups carried the proxies of shareholders in support of toxic free dentistry, and offered the resolution to give Kerr, and its parent Danaher, the opportunity to take a leading role in promoting a newer, safer dentistry.

The nearly 17% vote in favor of the resolution, was a tremendous first step in the campaign to ultimately phase out the use of mercury amalgam.

"We are thrilled with the great response of shareholders to this issue," said Heinonen, a consultant on corporate responsibility. This is proof that Danaher shareholders recognize the need to ensure that the underserved, which are at such great risk because of the use of mercury amalgam, need to be protected. The percentage of votes received is one of the largest I have ever witnessed for a first-time shareholder resolution."

"The age of mercury is nearly over and a proactive company like Danaher must see the writing on the wall," said Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project. "We thank the shareholders that supported the resolution and look forward to convincing others to join our cause."

"We are appreciative of the Danaher corporation for giving us the opportunity to present this resolution and look forward to engaging with their management in the coming months to continue the dialogue we have begun," said Charles G. Brown, Counsel for Consumer for Dental Choice.

At the Danaher shareholder meeting, both Bender and Brown gave presentations outlining the vital reasons why the company should transition out of manufacturing mercury amalgam. Their points included:

  • Danaher manufacturers and sells newer, safer materials and could become a leader in the new dentistry
  • Danaher discontinues manufacturing a product (50% mercury) with a catastrophic environmental impact
  • Bank of America analyst report in 2007 saying that the industry will be more profitable if amalgam is banned, so why would Danaher ignore its own shareholders by not switching to resin?
  • Danaher could avoid the negative impact of two-tiered dentistry - choice for those who can afford it and toxicity for the poor and armed service members; Danaher owes a duty to its shareholders to avoid such reputational damage, in addition to its duty to provide first-class dental products to all, not just the rich. mercury for The reputational damage the poor)
  • Liability issues with workers and patients could turn into tobacco-style litigation
  • Regulatory reversal: President Obama has taken a huge interest in mercury issues having sponsored (as a United States Senator), the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008 signed into law by President Bush.

Some-time in late July, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule on the use of mercury amalgam. The Consumers for Dental Choice won a 10-year battle with the FDA to comply with the law and set a date to classify mercury amalgam.

The Dominican Sisters of Hope is a community of Roman Catholic Sisters who address human needs through the ministries of education, health care, and pastoral and social services.

Consumers for Dental Choice, established in 1996 by consumer advocates, mercury poisoning victims, scientists and mercury-free dentists, soon thereafter became a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation. Its purpose is to educate the public about the health and environmental dangers of mercury fillings, and to ensure more effective government oversight on amalgam. Since the organization began, the number of amalgam fillings placed has declined dramatically, from two-thirds of all fillings placed to one-third, and the number of mercury-free dentists has grown dramatically. But the organization will not be satisfied until mercury is no longer used in dentistry.

The Mercury Policy Project (MPP) works to promote policies to eliminate mercury uses, reduce the export and trafficking of mercury, and significantly reduce mercury exposures at the local, national, and international levels. They strive to work harmoniously with other groups and individuals who have similar goals and interests.

If readers are moved to investigate further, more information is available at http://www.toxicteeth.org and http://www.mercurypolicy.org. Readers are encouraged to go to http://www.congress.org to let their opinions be known.

Contact:
Tom Cosentino, iMedia Public Relations 609.514.2643 - office (732) 801-9557 - cell
Charles G. Brown, Consumers for Dental Choice 202.544.6333
Michael Bender, The Mercury Policy Project 802.249.8576    
Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u., Consultant on Corporate Responsibility 212.674.2542

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