FDA Revisits the Safety of Dental Amalgam

bigstock-Light-Beam-From-Flashlight-48144989a copyI was contacted last week by a legal office in Kentucky inviting me to participate in the two-day FDA meeting convening this week in Washington to revisit the safety of dental amalgam.

Obviously, I am flattered that people so involved in this ongoing battle would even be reading my blog, especially the ones in which I have written about the possible dangers of mercury fillings (dental amalgam).  It clearly emphasizes the internet’s amazing ability to unite like-minded people who can then collectively make a huge difference in social policy.

The safety of mercury fillings remains very controversial, and while the American Dental Association still supports the continued use of amalgam as “a safe restorative option for both children and adults”, the World Health Association is preparing a report that confirms the ongoing need for mercury fillings but also sets the stage for phasing down its use worldwide.

A non-voting advisory panel has been assembled made up of experts in toxicology, risk assessment, epidemiology and pediatric medical and dental specialties.  In the light of hours of testimony and pages of expert reports, this panel is being asked to address three key questions:

  • How much mercury are people with mercury fillings exposed to?
  • What is the optimum safety threshold for mercury exposure?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of existing clinical studies on the potential health risks of mercury fillings and how should they be interpreted?

The FDA did issue a reclassification of “dental amalgam” as a class ll device last year but according to groups such as “Moms Against Mercury”, this rule did not go far enough to protect consumers and they petitioned heavily for this meeting.  While the FDA acknowledged that dental amalgam “releases low levels of mercury vapors”, the rule went on to state that “clinical studies had not established a causal link between dental amalgam and adverse health effects in adults and children”.

It would also appear that clinical data for children under 6, pregnant women and fetal exposure are limited and therefore petitioners contend that because of what is still unknown, a high degree of caution and a higher level of regulation should be adhered to.

Next week I will report back on some of the reports made before the panel and the FDA’s final decision if there is to be one at this time.

As always,  I love getting feedback. Here on my blog, you’ll get commentluv. That’s a plug in that allows you to leave a link back to your own site when you leave a comment.

Until next time,


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