The committee also said that more information on amalgam fillings should be posted for both for patients and dentists.
According to CNN:
"Public pressure prompted the panel's review, initiated less than 18 months after the agency's decision. Committee members listened to testimony by consumer and dental groups claiming the FDA used flawed science when it set the current guidelines for mercury safety levels."
Thanks to a massive response from grassroots America to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) abysmal 2009 amalgam rule, the FDA agreed to re-examine its pro-mercury fillings position at a hearing earlier this month.
Well, the hearing was a major success!
A government panel of scientists, after two days of hearings before its Dental Products Panel, has determined that the FDA is failing to protect children, pregnant women, hypersensitive persons -- and the rest of us -- from the dangers of mercury fillings.
Charlie Brown, the national counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice and the president of the new World Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry, says:
"[This] decision is a resounding defeat of FDA and its policy of protecting dentists' profits instead of protecting children's health."
We're Making Progress, but the Fight is Not Over
For the last year we have been working alongside Charlie Brown to help eliminate the use of mercury in U.S. dentistry -- and we've made some major strides.
Most recently, Costa Mesa, California has set the precedent by becoming the first city in the United States to pass a resolution to immediately ban the use of mercury amalgams in dentistry.
This success story was made possible by a trio of Orange County, California activists who distributed flyers explaining the hazards of amalgam (unfortunately, most people are still not even aware that "silver fillings" contain mercury!). They allied with health professionals and green businesses for support.
They organized an extensive petition drive, collecting signatures from individuals asking city council to ban amalgam -- both by asking people directly to sign, and by enlisting friendly health professionals and businesspeople to keep the petitions in their front offices.
They surveyed all the city's dentists, and presented certificates to dentists who are mercury-free.
Then, they sought out Councilman Gary Monahan, who agreed to sponsor a resolution calling on the federal and state governments to "eliminate the use of mercury in dental practices ...immediately," and, at the local level, requesting that every dentist cease using this poisonous material.
Thanks to the testimony of an array of dentists, a dental hygienist, chiropractors, victims of mercury toxicity, businesspeople, a scientist, a Navy veteran, and a lawyer at the City Council meeting reviewing the Monahan resolution, it passed unanimously -- and Costa Mesa became the first locality in the United States to call for a ban on mercury fillings.
The FDA hearing earlier this month also made some favorable strides for this movement.
The scientists told the FDA to tell U.S. dental patients, starting right now, that amalgam is mainly mercury, and to tell U.S. dentists to stop giving amalgam to children. They also recommended that the FDA come up with models that show the effects of mercury vapor exposure from dental fillings, as well as review more data on the impact of these fillings on children and fetuses.
The bad news, however, is that the entire matter will now be returned to FDA's board for consideration, which, Brown notes, is "notoriously pro-mercury and pro-American Dental Association."
The FDA does NOT have to follow its committee's recommendations, and, unfortunately, the FDA has a history of ignoring its panelists' advice if it doesn't uphold the pro-industry position -- even to the point of disagreeing with their own FDA scientific experts.
This is precisely what happened in 2009 with their disappointing "final rule."
The FDA is STILL Protecting Industry Over the U.S. Public
The FDA has long been the world's number one protector of mercury fillings, and the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world, and even behind some third world countries, in protecting its citizens from this toxic product:
- Canada advised dentists to stop placing amalgam in children and pregnant women in 1996!
- Denmark, Norway and Sweden have essentially banned amalgams.
- There are 5,636 hospitals in developing countries that are committed to or already mercury-free. The majority of these are in the Philippines, India and Argentina.
Yet, in the United States four out of five dental specialists still use amalgams, and the material is still endorsed by the American Dental Association.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg even has an egregious conflict of interest on amalgam, yet participated in the rule making. Hamburg entered the FDA through the revolving door after making millions as the director of Henry Schein Inc., the largest seller of amalgam.
The FDA is so much in the pocket of corporate America that it not only allows mercury-based dental filling to be implanted in children and pregnant women, but it covers up the very fact that these fillings contain mercury, which is a known toxic substance.
And the FDA's rule ignores the fact that Americans are getting mercury from so many other sources (vaccines, fish and seafood, household products, paints, pesticides, etc.) that many teenagers and adults are saturated with these neurotoxins.
Another Call to Action: We're So Close, Help Keep the Momentum Going!
Even the FDA is finally starting to realize it has become a pariah in the world by covering up the massive harm being done by the continued use of mercury fillings.
Now that the tide is turning, pro-mercury dentists, the FDA, and the world need to know that consumers like you will not tolerate dental mercury -- a neurotoxin and a pollutant -- any longer. Just like Costa Mesans have made it clear that the use of amalgam is no longer acceptable in their community, it's time to get this substance OUT of U.S. dentistry.
I urge all of you reading this to tell Jeff Shuren, director, FDA Center for Devices (Jeff.firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-796-5900), that we have waited long enough -- and that it's time, this month, for FDA to:
- Tell Americans amalgam is mainly mercury
- Protect Americans from mercury amalgam, starting with a ban on amalgam for children and pregnant women.
Tell Dr. Shuren, too, that Canada gave these warnings 15 years ago -- which means that an entire generation of U.S. children has grown up unprotected from amalgam's mercury, and that we will not stand for any more harm to be done to future generations to come.
You can also ask Dr. Shuren:
- Why does the FDA approve of dentists telling parents amalgams are "silver fillings"?
- Why does the FDA ban mercury for treating the legs of race horses but say it's fine implanted in a human child?
- Does the FDA say increased amalgam use is a "positive health outcome" in order to pump up the sales for Henry Schein Inc., Commissioner Margaret Hamburg's company?
Together we are making a real difference and with continued passion and support on your part we can WIN! Let's protect the health of Americans, including that of future generations, from toxic amalgam by getting "silver fillings" banned from U.S. dentistry once and for all.