From correspondent Edward La Combe:
When federal regulators are allowed to maintain blatant commercial conflicts of interest, our health and safety are put at risk. This is especially true where top regulators have been paid representatives of large chemical and drug companies. Unless you can afford to hire a team of lobbyists, don’t expect any government to protect you.
President Obama came into office promising to improve U.S. health care. Having fought throughout his career to protect children worldwide from mercury exposure, as a candidate he promised to reduce mercury's health risks. Obama explained that “exposure to mercury leads to serious developmental problems in children. The EPA estimates that every year, more than one in six children could be at risk for developmental disorders.” Acknowledging that government coziness with industry could inhibit such goals, the president promised to halt the revolving door that permits officials to oscillate between regulatee and regulator.
…The rule allows amalgam to be sold without disclosing to consumers that it contains mercury. FDA even pulled from its consumer Web site a warning that amalgam could cause neurological harm to children and fetuses, burying it on a Web page entitled “Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff” – a place no parent will look.
While Obama’s FDA under Hamburg and Sharfstein defend a 19th-century mercury product, the rest the world took another step forward this week in Geneva. The World Health Organization committed to a worldwide “phase down” of amalgam.