A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington DC’s U.S. District Court claims that despite growing evidence of harm caused by dental amalgam, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to delay its decision to protect public health against the dangers of mercury tooth fillings.
The suit argues the FDA has failed to respond to petitions calling for either a formal ban of amalgam use or a reclassification of it in order to tighten restrictions on its use, according to an International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) press release.
Attorney James M. Love, who filed the lawsuit, said American consumers and dental professionals are being misled by the American Dental Association (ADA)—the largest and most powerful advocate for continued amalgam use.
“The ADA has misrepresented FDA’s lack of regulation as proof of safety, and continues to use this toxic dental filling, despite scientifically demonstrated risks,” said Love. “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.”
Leading scientists have warned the FDA of the risks caused by dental fillings:
Mercury is a persistent toxic chemical that can build up in the body. It is particularly toxic to the kidneys and the nervous system. Young children are more sensitive to mercury and are exposed to mercury through breast milk. The fetus is exposed to mercury from placental transfer of mercury from a pregnant woman’s teeth containing amalgam.
In 2009, the IAOMT Scientific Advisory Board of the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology stated, “It is incompatible with current, valid scientific evidence to continue to endorse or otherwise condone the use of a permanently implanted material in teeth that continuously emits a very potent enzyme inhibitor and metabolic toxin.”
In 2010, at the urging of its own scientific advisory panel, the FDA agreed to review its amalgam rule based on current science. The agency announced its intention to complete its review by 2011, but still has not acted.
A February 2014 study, New science challenges old notion that mercury dental amalgam is safe, uses the same studies cited by the FDA in 2006, demonstrating that children are particularly at risk for mercury poisoning.
“We have banned mercury in disinfectants, thermometers and many other consumer products,” said Griffin Cole, DDS, president of the IAOMT. “There is no magic formula that makes mercury safe when it’s put into our mouths. It’s inexcusable to use mercury in dental fillings when there are much safer alternatives.”
The largest user of dental amalgam is the U.S. government, which provides amalgam for welfare recipients, prisoners, those residing on indian reservations and the military serving largely low-income people, including women and children, who are given no other options.
Some of the plaintiffs in the current lawsuit include: the IAOMT, Moms Against Mercury and several individuals who were adversely affected by the mercury from amalgam fillings.
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