Government Reports Uncertainty with Safety of Dental Fillings

Government Reports Uncertainty with Safety of Dental Fillings

News Release of The Environmental Dental Association

The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) released an evaluation of mercury-containing dental amalgam (silver fillings) that states "The Subcommittee on Risk Assessment could not conclude with certainty whether or not the mercury in amalgam might pose a public health risk."

The PHS's uncertainty stems from the fact that there is an "absence of adequate human studies" regarding health effects of mercury released from amalgams. The report acknowledges that "it is clear from the Subcommittee's review that a fraction of the mercury in amalgam is absorbed by the body." It further states that "people with amalgams have higher concentrations of mercury in various tissues (including blood, urine, kidney and brain), than those without amalgams."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed recent research performed on sheep where it was shown that small amounts of mercury vapor could be released from dental amalgams and absorbed into various organs of the animal's body. In reference to humans, the FDA states that "the question remains as to how much is released and absorbed, and, more importantly, whether this amount of mercury has any bearing on human health."

The PHS report recommends:

- A research agenda be jointly undertaken by the FDA, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

- That they develop a public and professional educational campaign to explain to dental personnel and consumers what is and is not known about the safety of dental amalgam.

- That the FDA classify amalgam.

- That manufacturers be required to label their products with ingredients.

- That dentists and patients report adverse effects from amalgam to the FDA.

James Mason, MD, ordered the analysis as Assistant Secretary of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services. He has now requested a continued and expanded study "because the possibility of adverse health effects resulting from the use of dental amalgam cannot be fully discounted based on available scientific evidence."

The Environmental Dental Association (EDA) is a worldwide organization of dentists who oppose the continued use of mercury in dentistry. EDA president, Joyal W. Taylor, DDS, said "This report is a refreshing break from past viewpoints of some authorities who have claimed certainty of amalgam safety." He further stated that "Thousands of people have reported health improvements after choosing to have their amalgams replaced. Those people and their dentists deserve some answers."

Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients.

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