Danaher Shareholders Seek to Accelerate Phase-Out of Toxic Mercury from Dental
Citing management's "resistive" stance in the face of clear environmental
health risks, investors petition Danaher Board on eve of annual general
NEW YORK, May 7, 2013
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:
oSetting national objectives aimed at minimizing dental amalgam use;
oPromoting cost-effective and clinically effective mercury-free
oEncouraging professional organizations and dental schools to train dental
professionals and students on the use of mercury-free dental restoration
Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project, a non-profit which
seeks to eliminate mercury use observed, "During the treaty negotiation the
U.S.called for an amalgam 'phase down, with the goal of eventual phase out.'
Danaher should heed policy makers and its own shareholders, and join with the
world community to reduce and eventually eliminate amalgam."
Sr. Kathleen Coll of Catholic Health East said, "By adopting a proactive
stance and accelerating progress on a comprehensive phase-out of mercury in
its product line, Danaher would underscore its reputation as a sector leader
and public health advocate."
While mercury amalgams are marketed as cheaper than resin fillings, a study
co-authored by the Mercury Policy Project indicates that when environmental
impacts are considered, they are in fact more expensive.
Said Sr. Valerie Heinonen of Mercy Investment Services, "We are particularly
concerned about families with children on Medicaid, who don't have the luxury
of choosing alternative fillings. We are asking Danaher to bring to market
much needed cost-effective and toxin-free dental fillings."
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):
Currently celebrating its 42^nd year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active
shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for
SOURCE Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; Mercury Policy Project
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