The FDA Finally States Mercury Filings May Cause Health Problems

by Dr. Robert O. Young

Silver-colored metal dental fillings contain mercury that may cause health problems in pregnant women, children and fetuses, the Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday after settling a related lawsuit.

As part of the settlement with several consumer advocacy groups, the FDA agreed to alert consumers about the potential risks on its website and to issue a more specific rule next year for fillings that contain mercury, FDA spokeswoman Peper Long said.

Millions of Americans have the fillings, or amalgams, to patch cavities in their teeth.

"Dental amalgams contain mercury, which have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses," the FDA said in a notice on its Web site.

"Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner," the agency said.

According to Dr. Robert O. Young, a research scientist at the pH Miracle Living Center, "mercury filings can be a focal point for acidic toxicity and poisoning of the blood and tissues. Mercury is known to be one of the most dangerous and toxic substances on the planet."

"Many people are unaware that "silver" amalgam dental fillings are actually 50% mercury. The American Dental Association (ADA) refuses to publicly state that dental amalgam fillings contain a high level of mercury, and adamantly denies that the mercury escaping from them can cause serious health issues."

"Yet it has been proven that fillings lose their mercury content. According to Joyal Taylor, DDS, one dental researcher removed fillings that had been in a patient's mouth for five years. He also removed twenty year old fillings from another patient's mouth. He tested the percentage of mercury content if both fillings, and found that the five year old fillings had lost one half of their mercury, and the twenty year old fillings had lost all of their mercury. Fillings tend to fracture at the edges and begin to crumble away, and mercury is absorbed by the roots of the teeth as well as the surrounding bone and adjacent gum tissue."

"Every day, we do things that can increase the release of mercury vapor from amalgam fillings: brushing our teeth, using a water pick, chewing gum, and consume hot foods and drinks can all release up to 300 parts per million of mercury colloids. Any levels over 1 part per million can be cytotoxic to the blood and tissues."

"Removing amalgams without special precautions increases mercury blood levels for a period of time. Such a concentrated release of mercury can severely exacerbate existing neurological conditions."

"It is best to consult with your Dentist about removing your mercury filings over a 6 to 12 month period of time so the body can adequately remove this highly acidic material out through the elimination organs."

The FDA must issue the new rules in July 2009, Long said.

The lawsuit settlement was reached on Monday with several advocacy groups, including Moms Against Mercury, which had sought to have mercury fillings removed from the U.S. market.

While the FDA previously said various studies showed no harm from mercury fillings, some consumer groups contend the fillings can trigger a range of health problems such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.

In 2006, an FDA advisory panel of outside experts said most people would not be harmed by them, but said the agency needed more information.

Mercury has been linked to brain and kidney damage at certain levels. Amalgams contain half mercury and half a combination of other metals.

Charles Brown, a lawyer for one of the groups called Consumers for Dental Choice, said the agency's move represented an about-face. "Gone, gone, gone are all of FDA's claims that no science exists that amalgam is unsafe," he said in a statement.

J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. analyst Ipsita Smolinski said the FDA is not likely to outright ban the fillings next year but will probably call for restrictions.

"We do believe that the agency will ask for the label to indicate that mercury is an ingredient in the filling, and that special populations should be exempt from such fillings, such as: nursing women, pregnant women, young children, and immunocompromised individuals," Smolinski wrote in a research note on Wednesday.

Dr. Young stated, "mercury filings are one of the major contributors to an acidic environment and can cause an imbalance in the alkaline design of the body leading to dis-ease of the blood and tissues."

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