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FDA “Reverses” Its Position on Amalgam Fillings?

Posted in SkepticBlog by Skepdude on June 20, 2009



Although, if you follow the alt-med news, you may have seen an article from six months ago or so trumpeting “FDA Reluctantly Admits Mercury Fillings Have Neurotoxic Effects on Children“. Wow! So, the FDA has finally admitted that the mercury in amalgam fillings is having devastating results on our children’s health. It’s on the Internet, so it must be true.

This headline grabbed my attention, in part because I had done a Skeptoid episode debunking the silly “smoking teeth” video on YouTube, made by some anti-amalgam people. In it, they dipped an extracted tooth in water and then filmed the water vapor rising off of the tooth using a fluorescent screen; only they said it was mercury vapor, and that it represented the constant flow of mercury into your body from amalgam fillings. (Mercury vapor is far heavier than air, it wouldn’t rise, it would sink.) It was a textbook case of alarmism.

The American Dental Association has always maintained that amalgam fillings are safe. They do release mercury, but it’s at the same rate as a gold or silver watch or ring releases gold into your body. It’s orders of magnitude below safe levels, and so amalgam’s many benefits have always far outweighed any risks.

The FDA actually changed its position in 2006, saying that more study is needed, but did not go so far as to say that amalgam shouldn’t be used or that people should consider having existing amalgam fillings removed. Removal of an amalgam filling would alone release far more mercury than keeping it for a lifetime would.

So I was pretty intrigued by this article. It seems to suggest that there had been some recent ruling or change, however, no mention of any such event was made in the article. The best I could determine was that this article was referencing the 2006 change. My guess is that it was a slow news day, so this “Natural News” web site trawled and found this old item which could be easily manipulated. According to the article:

The warning was one of the conditions that the FDA agreed to in settling a lawsuit filed by several consumer health groups.

Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, because the article gives no references or sources.


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