Mar 192012
The article re Canadian Chief Dental Officer Peter Cooney working simultaneously for the amalgam industry trade group is followed by an excerpt
Why the FDA is Resistant to Banning Amalgam“.    The issue is the same:  corporate corruption of Government.
At the bottom:  a picture of Peter Cooney.
Peter Cooney’s phone is 613 941 4748 .  I left him a message on his answering machine.
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Is Canada’s Negligence Putting its Citizens – And the U.S. – At Risk?

Posted By Dr. Mercola 38,329 views   …   EXCERPT

Canada’s Chief Dental Officer Embroiled in Conflict of Interest

The United Nations has convened a series of five conferences to put together the environmental treaty on mercury, a treaty that represents a chance for the world to rid itself of amalgam, and rid dentistry of mercury.  Chief Dental Officer Peter Cooney attended the second of these conferences, held in Japan in January 2011.
As Chief Dental Officer, Cooney was representing the Canadian government, which has historically been ahead of the United States in their progress toward removing toxic mercury from dental fillings.   Canada advised dentists to stop placing amalgam in children and pregnant women in 1996 — 15 years ago!
However, this seems to be regressing, as Cooney was not only representing the Canadian government at the environmental treaty on mercury conference, he was also representing the European-based Fédération Dentaire Internationale (FDI), a private trade group that lobbies against
mercury-free dentistry and is funded by its “corporate partners” — major amalgam manufacturers and distributors Dentsply, Henry Schein Inc., and
Ivoclar Vivadent.
As if there were any doubt about this egregious conflict of interest, upon rising to speak Cooney actually announced, “I am wearing two hats”!
In a petition asking the Prime Minister of Canada to remove Peter Cooney from his position as Chief Dental Officer, dentist David Warwick, supporter of Consumers for Dental Choice stated:
“Amalgam’s use today is by dentists who refuse training to convert to mercury-free dentistry; with amalgam, they make more money per chair per day.  The World Dental Federation profits handsomely from amalgam; it has “Corporate Partnership” contracts with amalgam  manufacturers and sellers, who pay FDI money in exchange for FDI promoting its product. So Cooney – disdainful of Health Canada’s  admonition to stop using amalgam on our children and our pregnant women – goes to Japan to protect the interests of a trade group and the profits of the amalgam makers who partner with it. Indeed, Cooney has a pattern of leaving the country, getting a speaking slot as a government official, then announcing he is “wearing two hats.” In April 2010 he pulled the same stunt at a UN meeting in Washington.”
Why is the Canadian Government Allowing a Clear Violation of its Ethics Code?
The Canadian government’s Values and Ethics Code for Public Service clearly states that officials must “avoid or withdraw from activities or situations that would place the public servant in real, potential or apparent conflict of interest with his or her official duties.”   Yet, Peter Cooney is obviously taking part in activities that conflict with his official title. The petition gave several clear examples of this very conflict, noting that  Cooney’s role as FDI lobbyist is at odds with his role as Chief Dental Officer. The petition noted, for instance:
“The Canadian Government and FDI have different positions on the use of amalgam. Health Canada advises dentists not to place dental amalgam in children, pregnant women, and people with impaired kidney function. Since this limits the profits of FDI members, FDI claims that amalgam is safe for everybody and opposes all restrictions on amalgam use. Dismissive of protecting children and pregnant women from this mercury exposure, Cooney endorses dentists making profits without conscience.”
  • The Canadian Government and FDI have different positions on the alternatives to amalgam, a major issue at the treaty
    Health Canada programs for First Nations and Inuit children have successfully utilized atraumatic restorative treatment (ART), a modern mercury-free restorative technique that is the leading alternative to dental mercury use in rural areas especially.

    Since the technique can be performed by non-dentists, FDI opposes it for economic reasons. Although Health Canada endorses ART, Cooney in Japan was dismissive of the practice – and for obvious reasons: FDI dentists would lose their monopoly.
  • The Canadian Government and FDI have different positions on stakeholder participation in the treaty negotiation process. While neutral and objective public servants – such as many we have met from Environment Canada – are graciously open to
    considering our position and encourage the participation of all stakeholders, Chief Dental Officer Cooney of Health Canada is abetting a
    trade group that is actively trying to shut us out of the process.
    FDI’s stated goal is to be “the sole representative of the international dental practice community within the United Nations Environmental Programme Global Mercury Partnership and at the United
    Nations and World Health Organisation consultations on global mercury.” In order to maintain the illusion that FDI is the “sole representative,” Cooney denies the existence of the mercury-free dental societies and undermines dental patient organizations – such as ours.”
The fact that Canada’s Chief Dental Officer spoke on behalf of FDI also gives the organization undue authority, implying that it is government-backed when it is not. Cooney also used his title and influence to secure prime time slots for FDI presentations that private entities do not get.  As the petition explained:
“Cooney’s decision to present himself as Chief Dental Officer of Canada but to lobby for a position at odds with the Canadian government’s
domestic policy and its developing international position puts our government in an awkward situation.
At the least, Cooney has created the impression that Canada does not want amalgam addressed in the treaty at all, even though the official delegation says it has taken no such stand. At the worst, Cooney’s “two hats” suggest that Canadian government officials may float back and forth between private and public duties — and at a major international showcase no less. As Canadian citizens, we find both scenarios intolerable.”
If You are a Canadian Citizen, Take a Stand!
This type of blatant conflict of interest should not be tolerated at any level, and the fact that Canada’s Chief Dental Officer is “wearing two hats” is simply unacceptable.  To date, Charlie Brown, president and founder of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry and national counsel of Consumers for Dental Choice, has sent two letters to Margaret Kenny, director general for Environment Canada, asking for Cooney’s severe conflict of interest to be addressed — but no responses were received.
Why does the Canadian government appear to be ignoring this issue by not responding to legitimate concerns regarding one of its chief officers?
There are questions that need answers. As Brown stated in his second letter to Kenny:
“A lobbyist for FDI is making critical decisions about their dental care; the FDI position is give amalgam to anybody, as long as it continues
quick-and-easy profits for the pro-mercury faction of dentists. Health Canada, since 1996, has said no amalgam for children and pregnant women. So is Cooney enforcing the Health Canada position or the FDI position in
his high-salaried role as Chief Dental Officer?”
Again, to date there has been no response from the Canadian government addressing Brown’s letters or the petition to have Cooney removed from his position.
Canadians have a right to a Chief Dental Officer who is, as the petition stated, “not hopelessly entangled with an amalgam seller-trade group
partnership that is working to protect risky — albeit profitable — mercury products.”
If you live in Canada, please write the following government officials to let them know you will not support a Chief Dental Officer who “wears
two hats” on behalf of an industry-funded lobby group.
You can contact:
Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment
Phone: 819-997-1441
Fax: 819-953-0279
Mailing Address:
The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3
Margaret Kenny, Director General
Chemicals Sector, Environmental Sustainability Branch
Environment Canada
Mailing address:
Ms. Margaret Kenny, Director General
Chemicals Sector, Environmental Sustainability Branch
Environment Canada
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 12th floor
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3
Some points mentioned in the petition and Charlie Brown’s letters:
  • We request that you address the problems raised by Dr. Cooney’s use of his government position to lobby for FDI and to undermine
    stakeholders opposed by FDI.

    We need assurances that Dr. Cooney will not participate in the delegation’s decision-making, that he will not be permitted to attend the third conference to put together the environmental treaty on mercury and intersessional meetings with his incompatible “two hats,” and that the damage he has already inflicted will be redressed.
  • We taxpayers do not know – but would like to know – if Cooney drew his government salary during this 10-day negotiation session. Did he forfeit his salary? If not, why did we pay a man to lobby against the government, all the time using his public position to maximize his impact?
  • We taxpayers do not know – but would like to know – who paid for this trip. Was Cooney at this comfortable Japanese resort as a guest of the World Dental Federation? If so, how could this not be “accepting economic benefit,” prohibited in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service?
Brown said:
“Canada’s an incredible country and it’s time their leaders in Ottawa stood up to the pro-mercury amalgam industry, which they’re not now and
not doing at all.”
Consumers for Dental Choice: So far they’ve ensured that amalgam is listed in the first draft of the international treaty as one of five products to be addressed, and they are introducing strategies for phasing out mercury fillings while exposing the risks of implanting mercury into human teeth
With the third round of negotiations right around the corner in October 2011, now is the time to act to make a difference and help make mercury use in dentistry a practice of the past.
Related Links:
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Why the FDA is Resistant to Banning Amalgam
FDA remains adamant in protecting mercury fillings, which no doubt has at least something to do with its commissioner. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has an egregious conflict of interest on amalgam, yet participated in the rulemaking that led to last year’s abysmal amalgam rule. Hamburg entered the FDA through the revolving government/private industry door after allegedly    making millions as the director of Henry Schein Inc., the largest seller of amalgam (mercury fillings).
The FDA has a history of stacking the deck of its advisory panels so that the pro-industry, pro-mercury position is upheld.
In a word: money. Over 100 million fillings are put into mouths in the United States alone, and each tooth that’s filled with toxic mercury represents a profit source for the amalgam industry – an industry that is used to having its way with world governments for the past 100 years.
Folks, bringing about change in the health care field has always been about battling against entrenched profit centers, and this is no exception.
The dental amalgam industry and their paid shills and former executives in government simply do NOT want access to your mouth blocked, regardless of the health implications. The mercury fillings industry is an entrenched, embattled and a very profitable industry, and they have been on a war footing against scientists all over the world for decades.
The FDA has been far behind the rest of the world in stepping up to the plate to reduce mercury in your mouth. The FDA has been standing in the way of banning this dangerous dental material for 34 years — since 1976. But the very good news is that we are starting to win this battle.
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PETER COONEY   (Click on the link to see a picture of him).
Chief  Dental Officer
Dr. Peter Cooney was appointed Chief Dental Officer with Health Canada in 2004. He joined Health Canada in 1991 and worked with Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) in Manitoba Region, was appointed the National Dental Officer in  1997 and served as the Director General of the Non-Insured Health Benefits Directorate from 1999 to 2003.
Dr. Cooney completed his Specialty, Masters and Fellowship in Community Dentistry. He is a Past President of the Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry and a former Chief Examiner for the specialty of Dental Public Health with the Royal
College of Dentists of Canada. He is currently cross appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry and Chair of the World Dental Federation’s International Chief Dental Officers Public Health Section.

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