Last week, an advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)convened a professional panel review to again look at the safety issuesassociated with mercury amalgam in dentistry. A group of scientists anddental and medical professionals, led by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), had called for FDA to reconsider its July 2009 "no risk" classification of mercury fillings.

The FDA panel concluded that there are no huge scientific flaws in theagency’s 2009 finding that mercury-based dental fillings are safe foradults and children aged 6 years and older.

The panel, however, recommended that the FDA look at more data,including the latest data, on the possible health risks dental amalgamposes to pregnant women and their fetuses and to young children,particularly nursing infants whose mothers have these fillings. Thepanel also said the FDA should consider adding warnings for these groupsto the material’s product instructions.?

The ADA commended the panel’s call for continued research while offering support for the FDA’s current amalgam regulation.

The panel’s call for more scientific data acknowledged concerns ofdental amalgam opponents who link mercury exposure to dozens of diseasesranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease.

Matthew Young DDS, president of the IAOMT, said, "The cumulative dose and health effects of mercury from all sources will eventually force a ban on all optional use of this toxic metal. Mercury-based fillings are the greatest contributor to mercury exposure in humans, according to this recent risk assessment and the World Health Organization’s Mercury Policy Report." Young calls for a ban now instead of years from now, stating "The elimination of mercury fillings will be the greatest health benefit to humankind."