DAMS1 Leaders Picket the Virginia Dental
Association Annual Meeting

By Marie Flowers
Vinton, VA
September 27, 2004

On September 9th and 10th of 2004, Linda Cifelli and Anne Ferreira, DAMS Coordinators from Williamsburg, VA and I picketed the annual meeting of the Virginia Dental Association in Norfolk, Virginia. The meeting was held in the Waterside Convention Center, which is part of the Waterside Marriott Hotel on Main Street.

We arrived on Thursday morning carrying signs stating, "Avoid Dentists Who Use Mercury Fillings" with www.MercuryPoisoned.com prominently displayed. On the flip side was, "Dentists Don't Tell You 'Silver' Amalgam Fillings are 50% Mercury."

Another poster said, "Poor Kids on Medicaid Only Receive Mercury Fillings," and the flip side read, "Stop Poisoning our Kids with Mercury Dental Fillings," with the DAMS website, www.amalgam.org at the bottom.

Linda had a sign that stated, "Dentists Get Poisoned Too."

I picked up three Halloween skulls from the Big Lots Store to take with me. I had one skull velcroed onto the top of my stick above my sign. The wind was whipping and the signs were twirling. In the afternoon, the head fell off the stick into a water puddle in the street. I knew I had to find a better way to display the skulls to let the people know how deadly mercury was.

Linda stood across the street from the hotel in front of a barber shop while I stood on the corner of Main and another busy street on the same side as the hotel. The barber offered us free coffee and said we could use his bathroom or leave signs in his office. Anne went into the hotel to see what was going on and was able to get a copy of the schedule of the meeting which also included pictures and descriptions of the scheduled speakers.

One of the hotel personnel came out and told me I would have to move because I was standing on their property. I had been talking to a pedestrian about mercury dental fillings and he spoke up in my defense stating, "No this is a public sidewalk." I decided to go across the street in front of the deli to avoid confrontation, and also figured the dentists could see us better across the street anyway. Some dentists were checking into the hotel, and unloaded their cars as we stood across the street with our signs.

We passed out lots of good information sheets about the dangers of mercury fillings. Some just didn't want to be bothered and one old lady would say every time she came by, "This is not true what you are saying. They couldn't be doing this." Others would come up to us and ask, "Why are you here? What is this all about?" They would listen for in-depth information about the toxicity of dental fillings, and the politics behind the cover-up of the use of these fillings.

The main message we told the public was that "silver" fillings were 50% mercury and only around 25% silver and the dentist didn't have to tell the patient what he was putting in their mouths or give them a choice. We stressed that the patient had no informed choice and the Virginia Dental Association was lying to the public by calling mercury fillings, "silver." I also stressed that poor children who went to health clinics didn't have a choice of white fillings on posterior teeth, but only had mercury.

Marie Flowers and Linda Cifelli with windblown hair.
Anne Ferreira wasn't in the pictures because she had already left by the time we had our pictures snapped. Guess who took our pictures? Some dental assistants attending the VDA meeting.

I tried taping Skull #1 on the stick with tape, but it fell off into a water puddle. So I just stuck the dowel deep into Skull #2 (pictured here) which contained Styrofoam.

Anne started us on a chant when the dentists came out of the hotel to go to the deli for lunch. Some of the dentists would hide their dentists' identification tags in their pockets when they came by so we wouldn't know they were dentists. We called out, "Who's got the lies? The VDA. Who's got the lies? The VDA. Stop calling the fillings silver! Call them MER-CU-RY! Who's got the lies? The VDA!"

One older dentist came by and snarled, "That's not true. You could be sued for saying they are 50% mercury."

I wonder who would sue us? The amalgam manufacturer? They have the list of ingredients, including the mercury, on their Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). They don't have anything to hide. They warn dentists on the MSDS about safety issues concerning the use of amalgam and say they are not responsible for its use. They put the responsibility for the use of amalgam strictly onto the dentists. Some of the younger dentists were responsive to us. Some would say they no longer used mercury and one dentist thanked Anne for coming. He said, "Maybe now we can start talking about it."

Talk about it!? Do you mean that the dentists are NOT even talking about it?

But then I remembered scandals in a church I attended in the '90's and the "hide-it-under-the-rug mentality" of the church leadership who didn't want to face the sins of the pastor. They didn't want to talk about it either, even with the facts staring them in their faces. So human nature being what it is, if a church or a dental association doesn't want to admit they are poisoning people (spiritually OR physically), they just don't talk about it, and hope the whole issue will go away. So much for professional leadership!

It was ironic that the dentist told Anne he was glad we were there because he was still using mercury in his practice. I wonder what the gossip was among the dentists for those two days? I suppose we did make the meeting a little more interesting.

A female dentist from Hampton, who considered herself to be a "progressive" dentist, told us that she was mercury-free and that we were picketing the wrong ones. She said we should picket the insurance companies so they would start paying for the composite fillings. She told me the same thing two days in a row. She said we were just making the dentists look bad.

We thanked her for being mercury free but I pointed out to her something that Linda Cifelli had mentioned. I said, "Why would insurance companies pay for a composite filling as long as dentists keep saying that amalgam fillings are safe and satisfactory? Dentists just advertise that they use "tooth-colored" fillings, and never once mention that the amalgam is hazardous, so the insurance companies would be under the impression that the use of "tooth-colored" fillings is just a matter of cosmetics. Insurance companies don't pay for health care that is just cosmetic in most cases, so what would give them an incentive to pay for non-mercury fillings if the dentists don't admit that the use of amalgam fillings is dangerous and patients should use composite fillings because it is a health issue?

It would be great if DAMS and the dentists in Virginia could unite to encourage legislation, if possible, or find a way to exert pressure to get the insurance companies to start paying for composite fillings. But until the Virginia Dental Association and the Board of Dentistry allows dentists to start telling the truth about amalgam fillings, it may be hard to get insurance companies to pay for something that the Virginia Dental Association says is only a cosmetic choice.

When people would pass by, on foot, or in their automobiles, I would yell, "Do you know that silver fillings are 50% mercury?" Not one person said they knew this, except for dentists or dental professionals who would respond, "I know all about it."

We talked with people who represented the companies who supplied materials for dentists to use. The Densply Caulk Company, who manufactures amalgam, but was at the meeting to promote the use of a composite they manufacture, claimed their new composite was as easy to install as an amalgam filling. One young lady from Densply Caulk kept saying that people already knew that amalgam was mercury, and the female "progressive" dentist said that people who came to her knew that amalgam was mercury- that most people knew it is mercury. She said her patients asked for composites.

I told the dentist and the Densply Caulk representative that most people DID NOT know that silver fillings were mercury, so how could they truly make an informed choice if they didn't know? The progressive dentists said her clients were professional business people. She said people in Roanoke and the western part of the state might not know it, but in Hampton they knew.

We talked to some dental assistants and dental hygienists and one assistant told me that when they gave their patients a choice between silver fillings and composites, that patients would ask which cost the most. When they found out that the composites cost the most and their insurance may not pay for it she said MOST of the patients would choose the silver. She said that it was the patients who wanted the silver amalgam.

I asked her, "Why SHOULD the patients choose the composites when they DON'T KNOW that the fillings are 50% mercury? They might choose the composite fillings if they knew that the silver fillings were mercury, and it was a health issue instead of just a cosmetic issue. Do you ever call them mercury fillings, or do you just call them silver fillings?"

She told me, "No we just call them silver or amalgam."

Anne and I talked with a distinguished gentleman from Texas. We wondered why a dentist would be there from Texas, but I later found his picture in the VDA magazine showing that he was one of the main speakers. He said he had been mercury free for years and I shared how I had been poisoned, and told him that dentists needed to start using safer protocols while removing mercury fillings. I encouraged him, and other mercury free dentists that I talked to, to look at the website of the IAOMT2 and to see their protocol for mercury removal. He asked Anne about the fluoride issue and Anne was able to share things with him she had learned while attending IAOMT dental conventions. He was very open to what we had to say.

When a dentist came by I would ask if he was mercury free, and I had some good conversations with those mercury-free dentists. One dentist told us, "As long as we have the old men controlling the VDA, there will be no change."

I am going to start calling these old men the "old timers."3

One dentist asked me if I were a dentist, and when I replied no, he told me, "then you don't know what you are talking about."

When a dentist would pass by saying, "It's not true," I would respond, "I have mercury in my brain. I am poisoned." Then they would ask, "How do you know you are poisoned?"

Another dentist came by, looked at the skull and said that the skull's teeth needed composites. Another dentist admitted to me he had had a brain tumor.

Someone came by and asked which dental products manufacturer hired us to picket the VDA meeting. He wanted to know if a composite manufacturer had hired us. We told him that we had not been hired by anyone, but we paid our own way to this meeting, and that we had just been poisoned by our dental fillings. I told him we represented the DAMS organization of people all over the world who had been poisoned.

Several people snapped our pictures from high up on the balcony and from across the street. One composite manufacturer's representative thanked us for coming and said we helped them by being there. They wanted a picture to take back to their company. One young dentist posed with Linda in front of her sign "Dentists Get Poisoned Too" saying he felt "the sign was ridiculous."

Anne and I had a long talk with the wife of one of the "old timers" on the VDA. She said she had been sick for years with many health problems including an auto immune disease. She said she had thought before that maybe her fillings could be causing her problems. Both her son and her husband were dentists, but she said her husband would never change. She said her son was more open to change.

We looked in her mouth and she had several gold crowns mixed in there with mercury fillings. We told her about oral galvanism and told her to please get the gold crowns out of her mouth and have it done by a safe biological dentist. We told her if her son contacted the IAOMT he could learn how to safely remove her gold crowns and mercury fillings and learn about the biocompatibility of dental materials.

The lady said that if she went to another dentist she wouldn't have any money left. She said that her husband wouldn't be giving her money to pay to have dental work done by someone else. We encouraged her to do her research. I told her of a clinic close to her house that could check her for mercury toxicity.

This lady will need all the research she can read and prayers and courage too. Living in the house with a stubborn pro-amalgam dentist "old timer" would be a difficult thing to do if you are sick and poisoned and it is your husband's ideas and the ideas of HIS dental association that has made you sick.

The dentist's wife said we had been an answer to prayer. She said the Lord always sent the right people to her when she needed answers.

The second day I tied one skull around my neck with binding twine, but then thought of a great way to display another skull with his eerie teeth grinning. His head was completely filled with a Styrofoam, so I cut a hole in the base of the skull, stuck a thick dowel deep into the skull and just carried my little friend around high on a stick.

By the second day, the merchants across the street from the hotel were complaining about us standing in front of their businesses and called the police. By this time the barber no longer wanted us to leave signs in his barber shop since he "had to live with his neighbors after we left." I thanked him for his previous kindnesses to us and removed the extra signs from his shop.

The police came and told us we had to remove the signs we had tied to trees and around a trash can. They said the only signs we were allowed to have were those we carried. So I had to take some signs back to the car in the parking garage.

I met an elderly man in the garage elevator where I was holding my skull in my hand. He asked me about the skull and I told him we were picketing the Virginia Dental Association Meeting about the use of mercury. I asked him if he was a dentists and he said yes. He said, "There is nothing to what you are saying. I have used silver fillings for years and it hasn't hurt anybody."

I asked him, "Sir, how would you know? How many times have people gotten sick but never thought of their dental work as being a contributing factor to their condition? And how many doctors think to look into their patients' mouths to look for mercury?"

While we walked the two blocks back to the hotel, I told him I had been on prednisone previous to my being poisoned, and I was more susceptible because of my immune system being lowered. I told him that I had told my dentist I had been on prednisone but he went ahead and drilled into a filling anyway and let me breathe the vapor. Once again I explained that dentists need to have a safer protocol in place while removing fillings, and then maybe so many people wouldn't be poisoned. I told him dentists needed to take into account people with a lowered immune system, and those on steroid drugs. Like another dentists I talked with in the Sam's Club in Roanoke, this elderly dentists told me, "You are one in a million. Your condition was unusual."

I told him, "No sir, many people are harmed by mercury, but many of them just don't know it." We had a polite conversation and I was very respectful to him. He went into the hotel, and I went across the street to hold up my skull and my signs.

The police came again and told us we couldn't stand in one place but had to keep moving. So we started walking around the streets more. I walked up and down the streets with the skull held high. People would take a strange look at the skull, and then would read the signs. We had honks and "thumbs up" from people in their cars. Since the letters were big, they could read the signs from across the street while waiting for the lights to change.

We had lengthy conversations with taxi drivers. One told me her sister had experienced some strange symptoms and had been ill after having lots of dental work done. One man talked to us on Thursday and promised he would return on Friday to help us carry signs. He took our information papers with him to distribute in the mall, and called WAVY Channel 10 and told them to come and do a story on us. We had sent out press releases, but no one came.

I talked for a long time with a woman who was getting ready to go to her dentist and have some silver fillings removed. I referred her to a biological dentist in the Williamsburg area and she was so thankful she had talked to me so she could avoid exposure to mercury vapor.

Linda Cifelli reports on several conversations she had with dentists. One older man was walking his little dog on a leash. He said, "If you don't get away from me I'm going to sick this dog on you!"

Linda asked, "Oh, you must be a dentist?"

He replied, "An oral surgeon."

Another Asian man looked at Linda's sign, "Dentists Get Poisoned Too," and smiling at Linda said, "I hate my dentist." Linda knew he was a dentist because he had his dentist's identification tag hidden in his shirt pocket, but the blue cord tied around his neck was still visible.

Linda replied, "No, I like my dentist." Linda was referring to the biological dentist who safely removed her mercury dental fillings and helped her to improve from her symptoms of mercury toxicity. Linda told him some of the symptoms she had suffered, and added, "But it is not fair that these (biological) dentists who help people are harassed or fined by the Board of Dentistry."

So we told many people about mercury dental fillings. We warned them not to let their regular dentists drill out mercury fillings. We told them about DAMS. We told them that the Virginia Dental Association did not want to allow them to have an INFORMED CHOICE about their dental fillings because the VDA was in Richmond strongly opposing the Informed Consent Bill (SB 187) we tried to pass in February of 2004. We told them the VDA spokesman said people already knew that the silver fillings had mercury because the dentists were already telling them.

It was then that people's mouths would fall open and say, "Well, I didn't know."

Like I said before, I did not meet one person on the streets in Norfolk who knew these fillings contained mercury, unless they were already in the dental profession. We were not talking to illiterate people. We talked to military people, business people, shoppers, a barber, and common people in street clothes, but none told us they already knew that silver fillings contained mercury.

And the Virginia Dental Association doesn't want them to know. The Virginia Dental Association just wants to hide its heads in the sand and pretend that this is not happening.

I posted this sign in my front yard so neighbors could read my story.

Skull #2 is overlooking Skull #1 and bragging that he was at the picket of the Virginia Dental Association.

By the way, my daughter Beth told me she and her husband baby- sat for a family in Virginia Beach two weeks ago. Beth had told the mother I had been poisoned from my dental fillings, and the father spoke up and said, "Oh, I saw some people on the street down in Norfolk the other week picketing and talking about mercury dental fillings. Is your Mom an Activist? I talked to a lady with a Skull."

Beth said, "That's my Mom."

It's a small world after all, and the "M" word is getting around....

1 DAMS (Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions) is a non profit organization dedicated to educating the public on the hazards of toxic dentistry. You can order an info packet about mercury dental fillings at 1-651-644-4572. The website is www.amalgam.org

2 The International Academy of Oral Medicine (IAOMT) trains dentists in a safe protocol for the removal of mercury fillings. However, you need to know the IAOMT protocols for yourself to make sure the dentist who belongs to the IAOMT is actually following the protocols for safe mercury removal. www.iaomt.org

3 In 2006 Dr. Steve Markus testified at FDA hearings on the connection between amalgam fillings and neurological diseases. He stated, "....It's the retraining of some of the dinosaurs that may still be teaching [in the dental schools] that is the obstacle."

To read Linda's speech before the General Assembly, what information we shared with the Education and Health committee, and related information pertaining to proposed bill SB 187 for Informed Consent for Dental Fillings click here

Marie Flowers at 540-890-4233
email: marieflow (at)aol.com

Linda Cifelli at 757-565-1839

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