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FDA Sued Over Mercury In Dental Fillings

by Britt E. Erickson
March 10, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 10

Credit: Shutterstock
Many Americans have dental amalgams.
Photo of a tooth with amalgam filling.
Credit: Shutterstock
Many Americans have dental amalgams.

A coalition of health advocacy groups and individuals adversely affected by mercury in dental amalgams filed a lawsuit against FDA last week, claiming that the agency has failed to respond in a timely manner to petitions calling for a ban on dental amalgams or tighter restrictions on the use of dental amalgams in vulnerable individuals. Americans and dentists are being misled by the American Dental Association, according to attorney James M. Love, who filed the lawsuit. “Most individuals remain unaware that those ‘silver’ fillings, prevalently used as a dental restoration and covered by insurance policies, consist of 45–55% metallic mercury, and that there are health and environmental risks associated with those fillings,” Love says. Exposure to high levels of mercury vapor has been linked to neurological and kidney diseases. FDA claims that dental amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages six and above. “The amount of mercury measured in the bodies of people with dental amalgam fillings is well below levels associated with adverse health effects,” the agency notes. The plaintiffs submitted their first petitions urging FDA to ban mercury dental amalgams in 2009.


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