December 2, 2008
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) For the first time, the FDA has issued a warning that the mercury contained in silver dental fillings may pose neurological risks to children and pregnant women.
"Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses," reads a statement that has been added to the agency's Web site. "Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner."
The warning was one of the conditions that the FDA agreed to in settling a lawsuit filed by several consumer health groups.
"Gone, gone, gone are all of FDA's claims that no science exists that amalgam is unsafe," said Charles Brown, a lawyer for Consumers for Dental Choice, one of the plaintiffs.
"It's a watershed moment," said Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project, another plaintiff.
Mercury is a well-known neurotoxin that can cause cognitive and developmental problems, especially in fetuses and children. It can also cause brain and kidney damage in adults.
So-called dental amalgams, or fillings made with a mix of mercury and other metals, have been used since the 1800s. Although it is known that small amounts of mercury are vaporized (and can be inhaled) when the fillings are used to chew food, and though Canada, France and Sweden have all placed restrictions on the use of mercury fillings, the FDA has always insisted that amalgams are safe.