Are mercury dental fillings safe? That, fellow Health Care Zoners, is the question that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is re-visiting. In 2009, the FDA declared that dental fillings (which contain mercury) posed no risk. However, it also cautioned against its use for some vulnerable population such as pregnant women and children.
Despite said earlier decision, the FDA will be re-examining the issue with the help of a panel of outside experts who are expected to weigh in on critical questions such as how much mercury dental patients are exposed too and how much is acceptable. A public meeting is also scheduled. Various groups from anti-mercury advocates and dental industry reps who favor the use of mercury are expected to picket the meeting.
Says Nancy Stade, deputy director of policy for the FDA’s device center: “Based on its own review and feedback from the panel, FDA will decide whether to make changes to its regulation. At this time, the FDA is not modifying its existing recommendations to consumers.”
The American Dental Association stated last month that “there is no scientific reason to revisit”. On the other hand, Charles Brown, the lawyer for the Consumers for Dental Choice advocacy group reportedly told Reuters that “Amalgam is a primitive, polluting, pre-Civil War device which no modern dentist uses” but that his group is pleased that serious questions about the use of mercury in dental fillings will be posed to the FDA panel.
Mercury is known to be toxic but what’s up for debate is whether the vapor it releases is enough to cause harm such as brain and kidney damage. An alternative to mercury used to patch cavities would be composite resins but there’s also a concern that they can contain bisphenol A (BPA) which is also controversial because of its carcinogenic effects.
Want to read more about the safety of things you put in your mouth? Check out our previous entry on the safety of Hyland teething tablets, Jim Humble’s Miracle Mineral Solution, and the dangers posed by Magic Power Coffee.
Are Mercury Dental Fillings Safe? Posted 14 December 2010.