More on Amalgam


Amalgam faultsFrom the Desk of Jenny Thompson:

Dear Reader,

They’ve been shaped, packed and crammed into millions of molars for decades.

But those dental amalgams — also known as silver fillings — are carrying a dark and dangerous secret that you probably won’t hear about at your local dentist’s office.

They’re up to 50 percent mercury — one of the most toxic substances on the planet.

For years the American Dental Association has asked us to ignore the science on dental amalgams. They’ve argued that if these fillings could really cause everything from developmental delays to Alzheimer’s, the FDA never would have allowed them on the market.

But now, thanks to pressure from three consumer groups, the FDA is finally admitting something it should have come clean about 39 years ago. It approved dental amalgams without a shred of proof that they’re safe.

It took five long years for the FDA to respond to three consumer groups that petitioned the agency asking for a ban on dental amalgams. And now we know why — the FDA was in no rush to admit a dangerous and embarrassing mistake.

According to Leslie Kux, associate commissioner for policy, the FDA has “very limited to no clinical information available” on whether dental amalgams are harmful for pregnant women, their unborn children, infants, and kids under the age of six.

Basically, Kux wrote, the FDA didn’t have enough information to act on the serious concerns raised by the petitions — one way or the other.

And if it sounds like the FDA is admitting that it allowed dental amalgams onto the market — and into millions of our mouths — without any safety data, well, that’s exactly what happened.

In 1976, under pressure from dental groups like the ADA, the FDA gave dental amalgams a “grandfathered” approval. They’d been used in America for so long, the FDA reasoned, that they must be safe.

How’s that for logic?

Of course, even the dental industry used to agree that amalgams were dangerous. Even as far back as 1840, the American Society of Dental Surgeons banned its members from using the fillings.

And for good reason. Studies have shown that constant chewing and grinding causes toxic mercury vapors to be released and absorbed by the lungs and oral mucous membranes. Especially for unborn babies and kids, that mercury can increase the chances of brain damage, hearing loss, and vision problems.

Mercury exposure has also been linked to Alzheimer’s and MS, as well as kidney disease. And according to the European Commission, “the largest source of mercury exposure for most people in developed countries is inhalation of mercury vapor from dental amalgams.”

That’s why amalgams are even banned in Scandinavia.

Even our government — when it doesn’t have a lobbyist from the ADA whispering in its ear — admits that mercury is incredibly toxic.

This is the same government that banned mercury thermometers, and when a compact fluorescent light bulb breaks the EPA recommends leaving the room to protect yourself from the mercury vapors.

So when it was considering the petitions to ban amalgams, the FDA made a few small concessions. They agreed to finally explain on the FDA website that mercury is the primary component of so-called “silver fillings” and that fetuses and young kids may be more sensitive to the vapors.

Of course, how many of us consult the FDA’s website before heading off for a dental appointment?

At the end of the day, the FDA is allowing these poisonous fillings to stay on the market, even though it admits it can’t vouch for their safety.

Fortunately, lots of dentists have now abandoned amalgams in favor of safer fillings. So you’re free to “just say no” to the idea of either you or your kids being stuck with toxic teeth.

Even if the FDA refuses to stop saying yes.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson