The Sierra Club Bay Chapter made a big mistake when it endorsed incumbent Linda Maio for Berkeley City Council.
In 2013, Maio led the move to gut a proposed ordinance that would have improved the information that dental patients receive about mercury dental amalgam fillings. She killed the mandates that two Berkeley commissions had spent six months crafting, which included informed consent for dental patients and signage requirements for dental offices.
Mercury is an environmental problem that will continue to grow, like carbon dioxide, even if all releases were halted today. Dental offices are the second largest consumer of mercury in the U.S. Crematoria are major sources of mercury air pollution. Mercury dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury, continuously off-gas mercury vapor, a potent neurotoxin that is especially dangerous for fetuses, children, and people with genetic susceptibilities. Our residents deserve this information upon any visit to a dental office.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the American Dental Association (ADA) is a “heavy-hitter on the Washington political scene,” armed with revenues from its “Seal of Acceptance” program for consumer goods like toothpaste. The California Dental Association, the state arm of the ADA, is a similar force in Sacramento, powerful enough to convince our state legislators and their friends at city hall to leave dentists alone.
Yard signs touting the Sierra Club endorsement currently give voters the false impression that Linda Maio, the incumbent for City Council District 1, is the best environmental candidate. In fact, the challenger, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, is endorsed by socially and environmentally conscious groups, including the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, the Alameda County Green Party, and the California Nurses Association.
The mercury issue will likely arise again next year, pending an Attorney General
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