Danaher Shareholders Seek To Accelerate Phase-Out Of Toxic Mercury From Dental Products
NEW YORK, May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, the Investor Environmental Health Network and shareholders in the Danaher Corporation today released an open letter they sent to the Board of Directors regarding what they see as the company's failure to adequately address the environmental health risks of the continued use of mercury, a neurotoxin, in its dental products.
Referring to a shareholder resolution that the company omitted from its 2013 proxy statement, Cathy Rowan of Trinity Health and lead filer of the resolution said, "Danaher's decision to exclude our resolution is difficult to comprehend in light of 2009's strong shareholder support, as well as compelling testimony from scientists and environmentalists who all affirm the clear environmental health risks of mercury, and the need to phase out the use of dental amalgam."
Danaher's subsidiary, Kerr, Inc., is a leading manufacturer and marketer of dental amalgams (i.e., silver fillings) which are comprised of 50% mercury, a known reproductive and neurological toxin. Once released into the environment, mercury can convert into the much more toxic methylmercury; exposure to methylmercury is particularly dangerous for infants and young children.
In January, the United States and 139 other countries agreed to the Minamata Convention on Mercury to reduce mercury use worldwide. The treaty calls for:
- Setting national objectives aimed at minimizing dental amalgam use;
- Promoting cost-effective and clinically effective mercury-free alternatives; and
- Encouraging professional organizations and dental schools to train dental professionals and students on the use of mercury-free dental restoration alternatives.
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