Wednesday, August 26, 2009
You May Need to Think Twice About Those Silver Fillings
Silver-colored fillings, officially known as amalgam fillings, contain mercury and have been used by dentists for over a hundred years to treat cavities in teeth, but the FDA is now saying they may have toxic effects on the unborn fetus and young children. In the past, regulators have warned pregnant women against eating certain fish that contain high levels of mercury, but now the FDA has also agreed to post warnings on the danger mercury in fillings may cause to a developing human's brain, in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of various groups.
As a result of the lawsuit, the groups agreed on a settlement where the FDA is conducting a review of the mercury contained in fillings that has to be completed mid-year 2009. Depending on the findings, the process may require that warnings be provided, through prescribing information, to dentists and patients to warn of nervous system dangers to fetuses and young children, said Pepper Long, the FDA's spokesperson.
The American Dental Association doesn't feel the settlement was very significant, because the FDA is not limiting the use of mercury fillings. The dental group has said that they feel the amalgam fillings remain safe for dental patients based on many studies and scientific reviews conducted by both government and independent agencies.