The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) vehemently disputes recent allegations made by the American Dental Association (ADA) that there is no scientific evidence validating the harmful health effects of dental mercury fillings.


James M. Love, J.D., legal counsel to the IAOMT, responded, “The ADA continues to support its self-serving view by denying that mercury fillings are dangerous.  Clearly, public health is not an ADA priority.”


Silver-colored dental amalgam fillings contain 50% mercury, a known neurotoxin, and the ADA’s latest defense of these fillings came as a retort to a March 28th segment on The Dr. Oz Show entitled “Are Your Silver Fillings Making You Sick?”  Dr. Oz, dentists, and other guests warned viewers about the dangers of dental mercury.


The following day, the ADA issued a press release accusing Dr. Oz of “sensationalism” and declaring that “not one credible scientific study” shows dental mercury is a health risk.


Contrary to ADA’s position, the IAOMT has cataloged hundreds of scientific studies dating back over a century demonstrating that mercury in dental fillings is hazardous to human health.  In fact, in 1845, the American Society of Dental Surgeons, the ADA’s predecessor, required its members to pledge not to use amalgam because mercury was known to be extremely toxic, yet in 1859 the ADA was founded based on its endorsement of these controversial fillings.


In more recent years, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have banned the use of mercury fillings, and other countries have restricted their use for pregnant women, children, and patients with kidney problems.

In 1991 and 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that dental amalgam is the greatest source of human exposure to mercury in the general population, and in 2005, a WHO report listed adverse health effects caused by mercury exposure, cautioning, “Recent studies suggest that mercury may have no threshold below which some adverse effects do not occur.”


On its dental amalgam webpage in 2008, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about dental mercury’s potential neurotoxic effects on children and fetuses but later removed the warning without explanation.


Later, at a 2010 FDA Dental Products Panel meeting to discuss the health impacts of mercury amalgam fillings, Dr. Suresh Kotagal, a pediatric neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, concluded, “…I think that there is really no place for mercury in children.”


The same FDA Panel encouraged consideration for limiting dental mercury for pregnant women and children, as well as labeling to warn consumers of the mercury risks.  The public was told that FDA’s ruling on the issue would be made by December 31, 2011. However, no action has been taken to date.


Amalgam risk assessments conducted in 1995, 2010, and 2012 by Dr. G. Mark Richardson, an expert to the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), revealed that toxic levels of mercury were released from dental fillings.  Other risk assessments confirm these findings.


Additional “credible” scientific research released in 2012 includes a Yale University study substantiating occupational dental mercury exposure, two studies corroborating the harmful impacts of mercury fillings on children and adolescents, and a study demonstrating that maternal amalgam fillings release mercury into breast milk.


Opponents to the ADA’s position on mercury fillings cite a 1995 legal brief filed by ADA attorneys asserting, “The ADA owes no legal duty of care to protect the public from allegedly dangerous products used by dentists.  The ADA did not manufacture, design, supply, or install the mercury-containing amalgams.”


Similarly, last year, the ADA lobbied the U.S. Department of State to oppose a ban or limit on the use of amalgam fillings in connection with the United Nations Environment Programme’s legally-binding mercury treaty.  However, the treaty text agreed upon in January includes the global phase-down of dental mercury fillings.


Dr. William Virtue, DDS, President of the IAOMT, is concerned. “While worldwide action is being taken to protect humans and the environment from mercury, the ADA continues to mislead the public into believing that one of the most toxic elements on this planet somehow becomes less poisonous when it is placed in their mouths.”


Source: The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)

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