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Mercury fillings a potential danger
Placed by : Looking for Dental 13-06-2008
The US Food and Drug Administration has sounded a warning for the first time about the mercury in amalgam dental fillings.
The FDA now says it may cause health problems for pregnant women, children and foetuses, a move hailed by one lobbyist as the most significant health story in ten years.
Clinical assistant Lynette Gaffany is about to get her amalgam fillings removed.
"Well because the mercury is toxic, it's obviously been leaking into my body," she says.
Gaffany's concern is not shared by many dentists. Amalgam has been used for over a 100 years, and still is, including here in New Zealand.
The FDA is starting to have second thoughts.
It accepted for the first time that amalgams may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of children and foetuses, and is going to review the evidence.
It is a move hailed by lobbyist John Appleton. He says he had his amalgams removed after tests showed high levels of mercury in his body.
"I think what the FDA have done is made a very brave step forward. The information on mercury has been suppressed for quite some time."
Dentist David Zimmerman quit using mercury fillings 10 years ago. He welcomes the re-opening of the debate.
"I think we should be guarded at this stage, but I think it's a substantial change in policy and I think it must be driven by something that's not trivial."
Up till now the New Zealand Dental Association has been saying amalgam fillings have not been shown to be a health threat, although it does say it is prudent for pregnant women to avoid dental surgery involving the placement or removal of fillings.
The Health Ministry is cautious.
"We'll follow the debate with interest, but at the moment we're pretty much in line with what the FDA is saying," says Robin Wyman.
Regardless of the official view, Lynette Gaffany is glad her amalgam fillings have been replaced.
"Oh, I think it's great, it'll be much better for me I think."
But like the rest of us, she will wait a year before the FDA delivers its final word on what has always been a controversial issue.
Source; tp watch the video: www.tv3.co.nz/News/HealthNews/Mercuryfillingsapotentialdanger/tabid/420/articleID/58985/cat/59/Default.aspx
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