FDA: Mercury Fillings Not Harmful
FDA Rules Mercury in Dental Fillings Doesn't Cause Harm, but Tightens Controls
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FDA Ruling: Reactions
In a statement issued Tuesday, the American Dental Association said: "The American Dental Association (ADA) agrees with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision not to place any restriction on the use of dental amalgam, a commonly used cavity-filling material."
Leaving the decision up to patients and their dentists is the correct approach, according to the ADA. "The FDA has left the decision about dental treatment right where it needs to be -- between the dentist and the patient," ADA President John Findley, DDS, says in the statement.
Not everyone agrees, however. ''The final rule is an outrage," says Charles Brown, national counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice, a group against the use of mercury amalgams. ''It puts mercury 1 inch from a child's brain. It puts mercury directly to the fetus.''
Ideally, he says, the agency should have warned against the filling use for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.
Brown contends the FDA did an about-face, just a year ago saying that mercury from amalgam dental fillings may be toxic to children and developing fetuses.
As a practical matter, the new ruling will make little difference to many dentists, says Michael Sesemann, DDS, a dentist in Omaha, Neb., because he and many of his colleagues have discontinued using the amalgam mercury fillings in favor of other restorative materials.
"Amalgam filling use is in decline," he says, and he hasn't used it since 1997.
Other options, such as white composite or porcelain filling materials, look better and are preferred by many patients, he says.