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Proposed law would require disclosure where dental devices are made

Wikipedia/David Shankbone

An Erie County lawmaker says if clothing manufacturers are required to disclose where their products were made and what's in the materials, so too should makers of products inserted into dental patient's mouths.

Legislator Joseph Lorigo introduced a proposal Tuesday that would require that dental devices include disclosure of where it was manufactured. 

"That includes crown and bridge work, dentures, veneers, dental implants," Lorigo said. "Any type of device that is affixed or inserted into a patient's mouth. They're used every single day."

He described his legislation as two-pronged. Manufacturers would be required to tell dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons and retailers where the devices were made and what is contained within them. Those practitioners, in turn, would be required to disclose the same information to patients.

What Lorigo and supporters of his bill are concerned about is substandard quality and the health risks they believe come with them. They point to studies that demonstrate in some cases, lead has been included in the manufacture of certain devices.

"My goal really, as is Joe's, is the safety of the patient,"  said Andy Jakson, chief executive officer of Evolution Dental in Cheektowaga. "We just feel that dentists that are utilizing offshore laboratories don't realize that they are putting, basically, subpar products inside of the patients' mouths."

Jakson says in addition to the materials used within the product, there are concerns about the quality of water and other resources used during the manufacturing process.

He suggested domestically-made dental products are available at similar prices than foreign-made counterparts and offer patients the opportunity to adjust them as needed.

Lorigo says he was shocked to learn that while there are federal requirements of disclosure for clothing made overseas, there is no such requirement for oral devices. If this passes, he'd like to see the idea expand to other medical devices.

"This is just the beginning," Lorigo said. "If we can start with stuff that's being implanted or placed into a patient's mouth, we should be able to take it to limb prosthetics or even medical devices that are implanted inside a patient's body."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.