Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FDA To Review Mercury Laden Dental Fillings

Amalgam vs. Composite dental fillings

Open wide and say ahhhhh....

Amalgam is the silver-colored stuff that they fill cavities with. Most baby boomers and their parents have lots of it in their mouths. It's a cheap and longest-lasting dental filling material. Now of course, there are resins that are used which look just like dental enamel. Well, I don't know about you, but I have stopped getting amalgam fillings and go for the resin. I just think it looks better. I haven't gone radical and had all the mercury pulled from my mouth... but some people have.

There's been much debate about the health risks of amalgam dental fillings over the past decade or so. Some argue that the amalgam filling releases mercury vapor that can be absorbed by the body, and they say that high levels of mercury vapor are associated with brain and kidney disorders. Mercury can build up in the body over many years, and may be a link/source of illness. Interesting to note: Amalgam fillings contain approximately 50% mercury, 30% copper, 14% each of tin and silver, and 1% zinc. All five metals in amalgam fillings can be toxic.

Now, I don't think mercury fillings should be banned - but certainly the public deserves the truth if there are any health risks at all - and your decision for treatment should be with informed consent - and be between you and your dentist. (That's MY two cents).

The Washington Post reported:
Prodded by consumer and dental activists, the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the scientific evidence underlying its pronouncement less than 18 months ago that dental fillings containing mercury do not cause harm to patients.

An advisory panel of outside experts will meet this week to re-examine the basis of the FDA's conclusions in the latest chapter of a lengthy battle with groups that believe the agency is understating possible links between the mercury in dental amalgam and neurological and other health problems.

Apparently, the issue is being reviewed again as a result of questions from citizens' petitions regarding the rigor of the FDA's science.... and we all know how the FDA has made some not so very reliable decisions in the past regarding drugs etc., on the market.
The FDA's current position on mercury fillings came after a lawsuit by anti-amalgam groups that sought to have the substance placed in an FDA classification scheme for medical devices as a first step in restricting and eventually banning its use.

In settling the suit, the FDA in July 2009 classified amalgam as a moderate risk item that released levels of mercury "not high enough to cause harm in patients." The FDA chose not to require warnings about possible harm to young children and women of childbearing age, said Charles Brown, an attorney for Consumers for Dental Choice, one of the groups that sued the FDA and petitioned the agency to look again at the issue....

The advisory committee will not vote on specific recommendations, but it will discuss a series of technical questions about how exposure to mercury is measured, whether safe levels of exposure have been set correctly and the reliability of studies of mercury on humans.

The issue is potentially thorny because if the FDA were to determine that amalgam fillings pose a risk, millions of people would have to decide whether to have them removed and, if so, how to pay for that.

Flouride in the water.
Mercury in your mouth.

How can that really be good for you in the long run?

Related: UK article - British campaigners say mercury is dangerous.
"Norway and Denmark banned mercury from fillings earlier this year while Finland and Japan have severe restrictions."