I have good news and bad news.
Good news first:
The first clinical trials to study the safety of mercury amalgam dental fillings showed no mental or physical impairments in children carrying the fillings for as long as seven years, according to two studies published today in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.—Studies Find no Ill Effects in Mercury Fillings, L. A. Times 4/19/06
I know people, including my wife and me, who have these types of fillings going back, in my case, 50 years. In the course of current dental work, we have slowly but surely been replacing these old mercury fillings with newer resin ones. We have read and become informed about the dangers of mercury in the use of vaccine preservatives, and tooth fillings, and it is quite clear that mercury can cause all sorts of major health problems so we’d like to have the stuff out of our mouths.
So here’s the bad news:
Critics, however, charged that the studies were not designed to detect problems that might manifest themselves in adulthood, as has been observed with some other metals, such as lead.
This is starting to feel like the earlier discussions by Merck of how Vioxx is a safe drug because it went through all the “standard” testing—typical pharmaceutical testing of new drugs is done by the manufacturer and then presented to the FDA during the approval process—and then Vioxx was killing a few folks who took it and now Merck is paying out huge lawsuit judgments and, oh yeah, they were aware of a problem during testing but they didn’t know it was such a big deal…yada yada…
When your dentist says amalgam fillings are the best and have been used for 150 years and it has been proven that the mercury is safe, tell him or her you want the resin filling and check back with you in about 50 years…
And that’s not all—
Just when you’ve been brainwashed that medicare Plan D for seniors is the best thing to come along since social security, guess again. You’ve been warned in this blog over and over that George Bush and his special interest backers are on their own side, not yours, especially in this drug deal, and here’s another round of assurance that the American senior is being hosed for the sake of better living for the few—super wealthy few, that is.
When premiums, co-payments, coverage gaps and other costs are figured in, the Medicare plans' drug prices are sometimes little better, and sometimes worse, than those offered at low-margin pharmacies.—LA Times, Medicare Drug Plans Often Not the Bargain Some Expect, Valerie Reitman, 4/18/06
You might be aware of a controversy over this drug plan initiative promoted like crazy by George W and his pals. The key here is who is benefiting from this alleged “plan” to help seniors get better deals on their medicine—the seniors, or the drug companies, or maybe even the insurance companies?
...the government agreed to pay the for-profit insurers running the plans an annual subsidy that now is at least $1,124 for each Medicare beneficiary who enrolls. The insurers also collect annual premiums from seniors averaging about $324 nationally plus whatever co-payments they charge.
Jamie Court, consumer advocate and Huffington Post contributor, got the message:
How is it that Costco, a lean and efficient but still for-profit company, can provide consumers with prescription medications for a lower price than a government program subsidized by hundreds of billions, yes billions, of taxpayer dollars? The only possible answer is that the privatized prescription drug "benefit" being forced on U.S. seniors is meant chiefly to pour profits into Big Pharma, not to help Medicare recipients get a better bang for their pharmaceutical buck.
Healthcare, immigration, dependence on oil—these are major problems. There are real solutions which the present leadership of this country does not want to deal with, because it means giving up all the great payola involved in profiteering, by the drug companies, the insurance companies, the oil refineries, and big business. Yikes, we’re surrounded.