FDA Pressed by Lawsuit to Address Mercury Amalgam Safety

Thursday, May 22, 2008 by: Teri Lee Gruss
Tags: mercury fillings, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) In 2006, a Zogby poll found that 76% of Americans were not aware that their "silver" dental fillings (amalgams) are composed of 50% mercury. The poll was sponsored by the Mercury Policy Project and funded by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).

According to the IAOMT, Zogby pollsters also found that 92% of the 1,216 people that responded to the poll wanted "to be informed of their choices with respect to mercury and non-mercury dental filling materials, prior to treatment and 77% would choose higher-cost fillings that do not contain mercury, if given the choice".

Has your dentist disclosed to you that mercury amalgams are used in your fillings? Have you been given the option of choosing a higher priced mercury-free filling material?

If not then don't be surprised. The American Dental Association position on "silver" (mercury) amalgams is that they are a "safe, inexpensive option for treating dental decay". The ADA has held this position for almost 150 years, ignoring a large body of scientific evidence to the contrary, according to the IAOMT document "The Scientific Case Against Amalgams".

Some things have changed in the dental profession recently however. More and more dentists protect themselves from inhaling mercury vapors by wearing elaborate protective helmets and masks when implanting or removing mercury amalgams, while the uninformed patient sits, unprotected, inhaling mercury vapors and swallowing minute particles that may be missed by the dentist's irrigation vacuum.

The ADA fails to inform patients of the hazards of mercury fillings

The ADA position on the safety of mercury amalgams helps to explain why, as recently as 2006, so many Americans are not aware of the potential risks we face when having mercury amalgams put in our mouths. Or taken out of our mouths. Or when, with mercury filled teeth, we chew, drink hot liquids, brush and have our teeth cleaned and polished. All of the above increase the release of toxic mercury vapors from our mercury fillings.

The Center for Disease Control Weighs in on the health dangers of mercury vapors from dental fillings

The Center for Disease Control in its Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals - Spotlight on Mercury, July 2005 says that "People are exposed to mercury when breathing the mercury vapor from dental fillings".

The CDC lists the following ways that mercury affects human health:

* The nervous system is sensitive to all forms of mercury

* Methyl mercury and metallic mercury vapors are more harmful than other forms because more mercury in these forms reaches the brain

* Very young children are more sensitive than adults to mercury

* Mercury in the mother's body passes to the fetus and may accumulate there

* Prolonged exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus

* Short-term exposure to high levels of metallic mercury vapors may cause effects including lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation

* Not enough information is available about people's exposure to all forms of mercury and cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that mercuric chloride and methyl mercury may possibly cause cancer in people

The U.S. EPA lists dental offices as the #1 mercury discharger in wastewater

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that "Mercury discharges (in wastewater) from dental offices far exceeded all other commercial and residential sources."

As we learn more about the dangers of mercury amalgams, to humans and the environment, a growing number of organizations are attempting to force the FDA to take a position on mercury, to classify it as either safe or unsafe. For over three decades, the FDA has negligibly avoided this issue.

THE IAOMT explains how the FDA has moved to "quietly" categorize mercury amalgams as a Class II medical device

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) explains how the FDA has avoided the classification of pre-capsulated and mixed dental amalgams since the medical device classification system went into effect in 1976.

"The amalgam-using dentist is the manufacturer of record of an unregulated product. In recent years, the pro-amalgam FDA staff has made some moves to quietly place all amalgams in Class II (medical devices) which would remove it from serious examination of safety".

Mercury amalgams have been classified by the FDA as a "medical device" and the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled "that medical device manufacturers cannot be sued for injuries caused by their products if those products were pre-approved for use by the FDA".

Has the groundwork been laid to release amalgam manufacturers and the ADA from accountability for making and placing a known, and extremely hazardous metal in the mouths of millions of people including children and pregnant and nursing mothers? (Supreme Court Shields Medical Device Manufacturers from Consumer Lawsuits Sunday, February 24, 2008 by: Mike Adams)

FDA sued by consumer groups, state legislators, dentists and concerned citizens

The non-profit organization Consumers for Dental Choice is one of eleven plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against six officials of the FDA on December 28, 2007 in the U.S. District Court of Columbia. The lawsuit claims "A Pattern of Lawlessness at the FDA". FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach; Randall Lutter, FDA Deputy Commissioner; and Norris Alderson, FDA Associate Commissioner are three of the defendants in the lawsuit.

As we watch other countries, like Norway and Sweden ban the use of mercury in dental fillings because safe filling materials are available, it looks like FDA resistance to classify mercury as an unsafe substance is straining the patience of both citizen groups and a handful of concerned Congressional members including Diane Watson (D-CA) and Dan Burton (R-IN).

According to Charlie Brown, National Counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice, in June 2007, facing a lawsuit by Congressional plaintiffs, "the FDA promised to announce an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (on the safety of mercury). The promise was a sham to buy more time to keep mercury fillings on the market."

One expert FDA advisor, Michael Aschner, a Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University who twice voted "No" to classify mercury as safe said, "There are too many things we don't know, too many things that were excluded". Other FDA panelists complained that "The Federal report didn't objectively and clearly present the current state of knowledge about fillings".

Aschner was one of a group of expert panelists, composed of physicians and dentists that in two votes, voted 13-7 to reject the FDA pro amalgam position. Even so, the FDA continued to stall in its long awaited, official safety classification for mercury.

FDA Associate Commissioner reportedly said he "was furious" that his own grandchildren were given mercury amalgams but his actions show less concern for other American children

Astonishingly, Mr. Brown says that FDA Assistant Commissioner Norris Alderson candidly expressed to a group of scientists that he was "furious that a dentist implanted mercury fillings into his grandchild, because of the mercury exposure from amalgam". Mr. Brown adds that "This is the same Norris Alderson who advocates a proposed regulation that requires the disclosure of zinc (yes, zinc) as a fašade so consumers and parents (and grandparents) won't learn about the mercury".

Oddly, Mr. Alderson was trained in the veterinary sciences and apparently has called for a ban of mercury in all animal medicines. Mr. Brown has called Alderson "the chief architect of the mercury fillings cover-up at the Food & Drug Administration and says that the hypocrisy by top FDA officials on this issue knows no limits." Brown has called on FDA head Andrew von Eschenbach to remove Alderson from his (six figure income) position at the FDA.

Learn more about the dangers of mercury amalgams

To learn more about the dangers of mercury amalgams to you and your family and the basis for the lawsuit against the FDA, please read the source links below. Mr. Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice has asked the concerned public to contact FDA officials to let them know that you hold them accountable to make a safety ruling on mercury amalgams, and soon. Information regarding this request can be found at ( .

Sources and additional reading:

Consumers for Dental Choice

21 page lawsuit filed against the FDA by Consumers for Dental Choice.

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology

IAOMT: The Scientific Case Against Amalgams



The Center for Disease Control

Testimony of FDA Norris Alderson to the House of Rep. Sub Committee on Domestic Policy, 11/14/2007

About the author

Teri Lee Gruss, MS Human Nutrition

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