After writing a piece on the hazards of mercury-based dental fillings last month, it was most interesting to encounter a rather unexpected update on the subject this week.
After years of denying there was anything even resembling an issue of concern here, the Food and Drug Administration has had an abrupt change of heart as evidenced by a subtle but telling change to key language on its website.
Suddenly gone are all the worry-free words about dental amalgams and in their place appears a semi-veiled warning saying that “dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses. When amalgam fillings are placed in teeth or removed from teeth, they release mercury vapor. Mercury vapor is also released during chewing.” The page goes on to suggest that “pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high mercury body burdens, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner."
Apparently the change is the result of a lawsuit. Whatever it takes. I’m just glad to see the FDA finally siding with the truth on this topic and placing precaution and public health above other less altruistically motivated concerns.