In two 13-7 votes, the panel found that the FDA report failed to clearly and objectively portray the agency's current knowledge of the fillings, and that the conclusions of its report were "not reasonable," considering the quantity and quality of available information.
The FDA's report was based on a review of 34 recent studies on mercury, after which it concluded that there was "no significant new information" to change the agency's previous decision that mercury amalgam fillings aren't harmful in dentistry.
"There are too many things we don't know, too many things that were excluded," says Michael Aschner, a panel consultant and professor of pediatrics and pharmacology at Vanderbilt University.
"As usual, the FDA is attempting to whitewash the issue of mercury fillings," says Mike Adams, a health author and frequent critic of the FDA's lack of concern for public safety. "The agency's announcement on mercury's safety is utterly unscientific and fails to account for the fact that not only is mercury is extremely toxic to human biology, it is also released into the bloodstream by mercury fillings that produce mercury vapor during chewing," he says.
Dr. Karl Kieburtz, a professor at the University of Rochester and chairman of one of the two review panels, called for further studies of the fillings' effects on certain groups of people, including children, pregnant women and people whose bodies absorb and eliminate mercury abnormally. The panel also said more studies were needed to determine if mercury amalgam fillings give off more mercury when they are being removed or placed.