MPP Testifies Before FDA on Dangers of Mercury Fillings

Federal health advisers to the FDA have rejected a government report that mercury tooth fillings are safe, saying that the conclusion is not reasonable. The panel also stated that a large federal review of data fails to clearly and objectively present the current body of knowledge on the subject. During the two day hearing in early September, dozens of people—including activists, citizens, dentists and dental assistants—complained of ill health effects that they attribuuted to mercury fillings. 

Along with others, MPP’s director testified before the 25 Member panel on September 7th. MPP also showed 7 minutes of a documentary from Norway called Mercury Girls which showed historical film of Norwegian dental nurses (assistants) working with amalgam in their bare hands. In 2005 the Norwegian Broadcasting Company examined complaints of dental nurses who had high levels of mercury. The reports of high mercury exposure was shocking. In the study results between the dental nurses and a control group, the results even surprised the scientists. 25% of the dental nurses reported having neurological problems. 36% of the dental nurses had tremors compared to 8% in the control group. 14% of the dental nurses had problems with memory vs the control group having no problems with memory. 18% of the dental nurses were depressed compared to 4% in the control group. 21% of the dental nurses had heart and lung problems, compared to 5 % of the control group. After the dental nurses saw the documentary in Norway and Denmark, they reported that their offspring was affected too, and a second documentary was produced, entitled Mercury Children. Bender’s presentation concluded with recommendations that 1) amalgam placement needs to be banned during pregnancy and 2) dental assistants should be placed on leave during pregnancy.

Advocates Urge Ban on Mercury Fillings in Pregnant Women

As an FDA hearing gets underway regarding the safety of amalgam, advocates are petitioning FDA to ban mercury tooth fillings in pregnant women to protect unborn children from unnecessary exposure to mercury. The groups point out that placement of dental mercury has already been banned in many countries, and amalgam makers warn dentists about putting it in pregnant women and children. “As most everyone knows, the developing fetus is most at risk from mercury.” said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project. “So why isn’t FDA joining Health Canada and other countries in banning its placement in pregnant women?”

According to the petition, encapsulated dental amalgam arrives at a dentist’s office with skull and cross bones affixed next to the words “POISON, CONTAINS METALLIC MERCURY.” Mercury, the warning states, is a “potentially hazardous substance” with “neurotoxic/nephrotoxic effects“; “a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” The two largest amalgam manufacturers – Kerrr and Dentsply advise dentists away from placing amalgam in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under six, and anyone with kidney disease. Kerr, the largest mercury amalgam manufacturer in the American market, warns dentists:

“The health authorities of the various countries, including Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Norway and Austria have recommended against the placement or removal of an amalgam in certain individuals such as pregnant and nursing women and persons with impaired kidney function.”

Dentsply/Caulk, the second largest mercury amalgam manufacturer, warns:

“Contraindication (N.B.: “Contraindication” is a directive to forbid, not just a “warning.”) “In children 6 and under” and “In expectant mothers.”