The US took an important step forward this past week when the FDA issued new guidance on mercury amalgam, recommending that it not be used in a number of high-risk populations:
- Pregnant and nursing women.
- Women who are planning on pregnancy.
- Children, especially those under the age of 6.
- People with MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other pre-existing neurological conditions.
- People with impaired kidney function.
- People allergic or highly sensitive to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.
Still, some folks stressed that this is just a partial victory. “Mercury shouldn’t be placed in anyone’s mouth,” said IAOMT Executive Chair Jack Kall, DMD, in a news release.
All dental patients need to be protected, and dentists and their staff also need to be protected from working with this toxic substance.
This is true. Mercury is extraordinarily toxic, particularly to the brain. Even if you don’t have a single “silver” filling in your own mouth, you are still affected. Roughly 100 tons of dental mercury enters the waste stream each year. About 150 kg (over 330 pounds) is released into the air each year just from breath exhaled by people with amalgams.
But we feel the FDA should still be commended for taking action – as should everyone who shared the truth about dental amalgam in last year’s request for consumer input and subsequent hearings on implanted metal medical devices.
“The decision culminates our three-year campaign that successfully persuaded FDA to reconsider its amalgam policy,” said Charlie Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice and the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry in a recent email.
We organized the non-profit organization community behind the Chicago Declaration to End Dental Industry Mercury Use….we had meetings with FDA top brass….we called for and got the FDA’s scientific advisory committee to reexamine the amalgam issue….we brought 16 expert witnesses to that committee’s hearings….we ran robust petition and public comment drives that showed FDA that we, the people, wanted a change in American amalgam policy….and we got it!
No big, meaningful change of this nature happens overnight. It takes time and perseverance, one step after another until we reach the place where mercury amalgam is nothing but a bad memory.
But for the moment, there’s every reason to celebrate this latest turn of events.