Public Health Service

October 1, 1992

James O. Mason, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Assistant Secretary for Health and
Chairman, Committee to Coordinate Environmental Health
and Related Programs
U.S. Public Health Service
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Dr. Mason:

In 1991, you directed the CCEHRP to prepare a scientific review of the risks and benefits of dental amalgam, the most commonly used restorative material in dental practice. Upon completion of that review, you directed the Subcommittee on Risk Management to formulate a strategic plan for addressing continuing concerns about amalgam safety. Our work was predicated on the reports presented to CCEHRP by the Subcommittee on Risk Assessment and the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on the Benefits of Dental Amalgam.

Our objective was to prepare a coherent, broad-based plan for enhancing risk definition, for helping dental patients and providers put amalgam risks and benefits into perspective through targeted educational initiatives, for identifying important research questions, and for ensuring adequate Federal regulatory oversight of this product. This report outlines a plan of action that addresses each of these areas and suggests the PHS agencies that are best suited to implement the various tasks.

I am pleased to present the enclosed report to you and the full Committee for consideration. I should inform you that the report has undergone extensive review by a number of groups, including CCEHRP's Subcommittees on Risk Management, Risk Assessment, Risk Communication and Education, Research Needs, and the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on the Benefits of Dental Amalgam. It has also been subjected to outside scientific peer review by experts from the fields of dentistry, toxicology and risk assessment.

I trust you and the members of CCEHRP will find this report useful.

Sincerely yours,

James S. Benson
Chairman Subcommittee on Risk Management

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