Two days of hearings in Gaithersburg, Md. ended last week with a recommendation from the advisory panel that the FDA examine all relevant scientific studies and evidence presented pertaining to Mercury fillings.
In four petitions submitted by various consumer and dental groups, there has been some indication that the FDA’s decisions regarding mercury fillings are flawed and based upon insufficient data to draw conclusions. Specifically, when dealing with a very sensitive subpopulation such as: pregnant women, unborn children, children under 6 and mercury-sensitive adults.
What the panel has come away with is: “a lot more needs to be learned before any decision can be made. In speaking about how to best measure the amount of mercury that people with amalgams are exposed to, the panel’s chair cautioned that any model that they come up with would be provisional until sufficient data is collected”.
Experts assembled provided their expertise on:
1. How best to measure mercury exposure,
2. What level is it safe, and,
3. How to weigh that evidence.
Incidentally, the FDA has approximately 6 months to respond to the panel’s findings but does not have to accept its recommendations.
According to Bob Reeves, a Lexington, Ky., attorney who has spent the last 30 years fighting against mercury fillings (this is the law office that invited me to attend these hearings), called the advisory panel “amazingly fair-handed” and predicted that the FDA would not be able to ignore this group due to the intense media coverage this issue is generating.
Suresh Kotagal, MD of the Mayo Clinic spoke emphatically:
“There is no place for mercury in children. The bottom line is, do no harm. We have to start with that and take it from there”.
Having worked in a dental office and been subjected to mercury vapors for many years first as a dental assistant and then as a dental hygienist, I think that a very interesting study would be to look at dental office workers, their length of employment, type of disease contracted and the date of symptom onset. This to my mind is a sub-group that most definitely needs to be studied as well!
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Until next time,