Picket the Virginia Dental
Association Annual Meeting
By Marie Flowers
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
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
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
Marie Flowers and Linda Cifelli with
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
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
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
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
I posted this sign
in my front yard so neighbors could read my story.
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
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.
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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