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15 Statutory Obligations Of Dental Boards




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This article is from the Amalgam and Mercury-free Dentistry FAQ.

15 Statutory Obligations Of Dental Boards


Recognition of the statutory obligations of State Dental Boards is now
of paramount importance. Each state has a ''Dental Practice Act'',
which may vary somewhat in title and which has a specific numerical
designation in each state. This Act specifically charges the State
Dental Board (which may also have name variations in different states)
with protecting the public health, safety and welfare in matters
regarding dentistry. In addition, each state has statutory
''Administrative Procedures'' establishing policies and procedures for
state agencies.

In view of the mounting scientific evidence questioning the safety of
mercury exposure from amalgam dental fillings, the State Dental Boards
are now facing a dilemma. In the past, the actions of the Boards
regarding dental amalgam have been virtually arbitrary, being based
solely upon the dictates of organized dentistry. Now, several Boards
are being challenged, pitting documented science and government
standard versus professional ''opinion.''

Members of State Dental Boards have functioned under the belief that
they are beyond reproach, because they believe that they are immune
from civil prosecution. This is not necessarily so! In some states
Dental Boards may be subject to civil prosecution if it can be proven
that their actions were based upon bias or malicious intent. Although
it is not easy to prove bias or malicious intent, the increasing
scientific documentation and governmental activity questioning dental
amalgam mercury is making it increasingly difficult to defend its use
on supportable grounds. In addition, if Dental Board actions are
contrary to their statutory obligations they may also be subject to
the potential for charges of malfeasance and misfeasance in office, as
they are duly constituted public officials. Some states even have
remedies for ''arbitrary or capricious'' actions of regulatory boards.

 

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