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Comment and Opinion

Australasian Society of Oral Medicine And Toxicology

The following set of words appears in several places on the web:

The Australasian Society of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (ASOMAT) played an instrumental role in the decision of the Australian Nation Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) to withdraw their endorsement of the safety of Dental Mercury Amalgam, by submitting a six page report on the salient facts about mercury, dental amalgams and health effects. ASOMAT submitted their report on September 16, 1997 and the NH&MRC withdrew their support on August 18, 1997.

It apparently originated with a dentist named Robert Gammal who was the founder of ASOMAT.

I thought it was a bit strange that the NH&MRC took action 29 days before receiving this damning report, so I went to their site to get the truth. It took me about a minute to find out that not only had the NH&MRC not withdrawn any endorsement of dental amalgam, but had instead issued a statement saying quite the opposite.

You can see what NH&MRC really have to say at

The opponents of dental amalgam must assume that nobody will check what they say. Somebody did. The fact that such a blatant lie can be so widely promulgated just confirms the fact that these people don't care what they tell their followers as long as it supports their baseless claims about amalgam fillings.

Mr Gammal did not like what I said above, and sent me the following email:

Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 21:56:27 +1000
From: Robert Gammal
Subject: legal action

Dear Sir

not only is your site an insult to intelligence but it is blatantly inaccurate

I specifically refer to

As i am the Robert Gammal you speak of I can factually say that you are wrong.

I therefore inform you that unless this page is removed from your site immediately legal action will be taken. I also expect a full apology to be published in it's place. I assure you that this is a serious and legal communication and that the promise of legal action will be carried out.

Robert Gammal

I can only assume that one of two possibilities is true. The first possibility is that Mr Gammal did not write the words quoted above which are attributed to him on many web sites and which suggest that the NH&MRC had made a "decision ... to withdraw their endorsement of the safety of Dental Mercury Amalgam", in which case I would also have to also assume that Mr Gammal has sent a similar retraction demand to the holistic and anti-amalgam dentists and others who own those sites. The second possibility is that Mr Gammal did in fact write those words but does not like it being pointed out that his saying that the NH&MRC had made a "decision ... to withdraw their endorsement of the safety of Dental Mercury Amalgam" seems to be contradicted by the NH&MRC saying "There is a lack of convincing evidence of a link between dental amalgam restorations and specific diseases and symptoms" and "Nor is there any evidence of improvements in health upon removal of dental amalgam fillings. Further, no studies have been conducted comparing the health outcomes of people with and without dental amalgam fillings".


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