FDA changing position on amalgam fillings?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Sara PA, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    This is a bit disconcerting. Key words are "may be dangerous". The article I posted seems a tad biased but it was the one with the most background information. Check the FDA site for exactly what the FDA is saying.

    After Settling Suit, FDA Changes Tune On Mercury Fillings
    Agency finally concedes mercury dental fillings may be dangerous

    June 6, 2008

    For years, controversy has surrounded the use of mercury fillings in dental work, with critics charging these fillings posed health risks. After years of reviewing the data - and settling a lawsuit - the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concedes there may be something to those claims.

    The FDA has issued a warning that mercury dental fillings may pose a threat to people with a weakened immune system. Mercury has been linked to a number of illnesses, including brain and kidney damage.

    "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses," the FDA says in an update fact sheet on its Web site.

    When amalgam fillings are placed in teeth or removed from teeth, they release mercury vapor. Mercury vapor is also released during chewing.

    The FDA said people with mercury fillings should not have them removed, but should talk about the matter with their dentist. The agency has agreed to release a new ruling on mercury fillings by July 2009.

    That agreement was part of a settlement of a suit brought against the FDA by Moms Against Mercury and other consumer groups. Michael Bender, Director of the Mercury Policy Project and a plaintiff in the suit, said the settlement forced FDA to end "32 years of delay" and enforce the law.

    "This about-face resulted from settling our lawsuit," Bender said. "The FDA must now finish classification within one year of the close of the public comment period on its amalgam policy, that is, by July 28, 2009. The FDA also agreed to and, and with uncharacteristic speed, has already changed its website on mercury amalgam -- dramatically."

    Bender says that previously, the FDA claimed that no science exists that amalgam is unsafe, that other countries have acted for environmental reasons only, and that the 2006 FDA advisory panel affirmed amalgam's safety. Now, he says, the FDA has moved to a more neutral course, while still recognizing the serious health risks posed by amalgam in particular for children and unborn children, for pregnant women, and for those with mercury immune system sensitivity.

    According to the American Dental Association, about 30 percent of patients have mercury fillings and that number is dropping. Other options for fillings include tooth-colored resin composites, glass cement, porcelain, and other metals like gold. Dentists have always liked mercury because of its low cost and durability.
  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    So you shouldn't have them removed. But, what about when they fall out? I've lost a couple of fillings that way. And they've been amalgam.
  3. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I don't know....I guess you should discuss it with your dental care professional.

    This kind of reminds me of the whole Thimerosal issue -- they aren't sure it does anything but they took it out...then used all the stuff made before they took it out. Very mixed-messages.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Whenever I have mine replaced, I use resin for the front and gold for the back. I think I only have one silver amalgram left. I think my dentist said it's toxic only in gas form, but as the FDA article pointed out, there is a subpopulation that is senstive to the fillings no matter what.
    I don't think our knowlege of mercury is that thorough. Time will tell.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    A guy I dated in college had a mom who had all her fillings replaced. While that didn't seem nuts, she DID claim that you had to go to the top of some mountain where the vortexes (vortices?) all met or else it was pointless and you couldn't reverse the damage.

    I still get a chuckle out of the vortex thing, but I have always felt that the use of mercury in the human body seemed crazy.

    Our dentist doesn't use the amalgam. hasn't for many years. He says the resins and gold fillings are stronger adn safer.

    The FDA has always seemed to have the best interests of corporations in mind, rather than the best interests of the people. But, that si just my impression.

  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The issue becomes complicated when legal and financial considerations come into it. There is a huge difference sometimes between what is scientifically proven, and what is legally risky. Some companies will take something off the market not because it has been proven to be a problem, but because the risk of lawsuit (even lawsuits which won't stand up) is too great and they don't want to risk the time and expense of fighting it all.

    For example (Aussie example) - a certain Aussie doctor who I'd rather not name, who had made an international reputation decades earlier as one of the people who blew the whistle on the problems caused by thalidomide in pregnancy, claimed in about 1983-ish that a drug called Debendox (used for morning sickness) caused birth defects. He had been doing experiments on rabbits and his laboratory had shown an increase in birth defects in baby rabbits.

    Because of his reputation and also his high profile in the media, this got wide coverage. Now, the normal response to this is for independent research to be carried out to check this; research often done by our own government testing laboratories. At the very least, the whistle-blower's notes and records are examined to double-check the results and see what other information may be there.
    But in this case - this bloke was too important. Despite the drug company's insistence that they had done exhaustive testing which showed no problems, there was hysterical reactions. Because birth defects do happen anyway at a certain rate purely by chance, ANY parents of a baby born with defects whose mother had taken Debendox during pregnancy (as just about all mothers had at that time - I did, too) were liable to begin a lawsuit against the company. Although it would have been impossible to prove that the drug was responsible (at least impossible without independent research confirming the link) there was likely to be such a nuisance factor to the company that it just wasn't worth the hassle. They withdrew Debendox from the market. And the doctor declared a triumph for the power of public opinion in forcing drug companies to behave more responsibly.

    A couple of years later, some of this doctor's laboratory workers finally managed to be heard; they claimed that the good doctor had ordered them to fudge results in the tests with the baby rabbits. A few more revelations later, a lot of mud thrown both at the doctor and then by the doctor back at his former laboratory workers, and the media (and government) finally did the digging they should have to begin with. And the doctor's claims just did not stack up. The drug was cleared. But it never went back on the market again - although it was undoubtedly safe, the drug company decided it was just too much trouble to pay for a PR campaign when they could put the money into something else, like pimple cream of whatever.

    But this doctor was a good man - he had at least been able to see the dangers of thalidomide early enough to warn the world. Or had he?

    I have read a book "____ - Behind the Myth" which follows this doctor's career from an allegedly more enlightened point of view has some unsettling claims on this issue also. I won't go into it now. Here is a link to a news story, to give you more specific information. http://www.abc.net.au/austory/transcripts/s248519.htm

    What I'm trying to point out - what you see isn't always what you get, especially when it comes to why companies and sometimes governments take something off the market. And "independent research" isn't always independent, and it isn't always research.

    With regard to amalgam fillings - the best advice I've seen on the topic says that it's perhaps foolish to spend a lot of money getting all your fillings removed and replaced with something non-mercury, because the process of removing it all risks releasing a lot more mercury than you would otherwise be exposed to. But if you replace fillings as needed with something more innocuous, not only is it likely to be safer (assuming amalgam is a problem anyway) but also less expensive. And certainly less hassle.

    It's what I've been doing over the years.

    All fillings can break, but in different ways. Also, teeth can break away and leave the filling behind. It all needs to be attended to.