Yesterday a US Advisory Panel of 20 voted 13-to-7 that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) conclusions on the safety of mercury-based amalgam fillings were not “reasonable,” and called for more research.
The US Public Health Service said in 1997 that data did not support claims that silver fillings caused serious health problems. The FDA meta-report analyzed new research since 1997 and reported that there was no evidence to contradict the original US Public Health Service conclusions.
A panel of outside experts met on Thursday to discuss the FDA report, and accused the FDA of not objectively and clearly presenting current knowledge about health effects of patient exposure to mercury vapors from “silver fillings”. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health “Exposure to even small amounts of mercury over a long period may cause negative health effects including damage to the brain, kidney, lungs…” Patients, consumer groups and some lawmakers believe mercury in fillings is linked to serious health problems like Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
The FDA and other health officials say the mercury vapors emitted from fillings are too small to cause such serious health problems. But panel member, Michael Aschner, professor of pediatrics and pharmacology at Vanderbilt University is not so sure. “There are too many things we don’t know and too many things we have excluded,” Mr. Aschner told Reuters yesterday.
Today there are alternatives to mercury fillings, including white composites made from quartz resin. Why these new, safer fillings haven’t completely made obsolete a type of filling that emits poisonous gasses is a mystery to US Recall News.
Image: Mercury Fillings VS Composite Fillings
– Editor’s Note –
I wasn’t so great about brushing my teeth when I was a child, and began paying the price in my early teens. By my 25th birthday, I had collected over a dozen silver filings. It was not until a year or two later that I was told by a dentist that these “silver filings” were actually mercury-based. Another year or two went by before I discovered while reading the original reports from the US Public Health Service that these mercury amalgam fillings released trace amounts of poisonous mercury vapors.
I have two questions:
#1 – When the FDA looks at vapors emitted by mercury fillings, are they only studying the effects from two or three fillings – like the average American might have – or have they also looked at the effects of mercury vapor emissions from long-term exposure to mercury vapors from over a dozen mercury-based fillings? Or maybe they have studied the effects of mercury vapor exposure in a vacuum, where the person wouldn’t be exposed to mercury from other sources. But what about those of us with dozens of fillings who also like to eat sushi, or who live in an industrial area?
#2 – Out of the many dentists I have seen and from whom I have received mercury-based amalgam fillings, why was I not told at least ONCE of the potential (even if slight) dangers of the treatment they were to provide? To expect a 13-year-old kid to understand the health effects of a commonly used dental treatment is ludicrous, unprofessional and totally unethical!
The two primary makers of mercury-based amalgams are Dentsply International, Inc. and Danaher Corporation (branded under Kerr Sybron Dental Specialties).
I might develop Alzheimer’s. I might not. But I might just take a former dentist, or perhaps one (or both) of the companies that make mercury-based fillings, to court and have them pay to remove every one of my silver fillings and replace them with a non-lethal material like the quartz resin used in white composite fillings.
And here is a note to my family in case I “forget”: When I develop Alzheimer’s, make sure you sue the pants off of every dentist who ever gave me a filling (because not a single one ever discussed with me the dangers of what they were doing) and both major manufacturers of mercury amalgams. Then you can afford to put me in a lush hospital with big screen TVs, a swimming pool, hot tub, golf course… I will be a vegetable, of course, but at least the place will look nice when you come to visit.