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Dental fillings that include mercury are again under FDA review

U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulators last year said fillings that included mercury-based metals were safe. Now the FDA will hold public meetings to further probe the issue, focusing particularly on children and pregnant women.

Last year the Food & Drug Administration ruled that the mercury-containing metal in dental fillings is safe, but the agency wants to know if the methods it used to determine the alloy’s safety were satisfactory.

The FDA is holding a public meeting today and tomorrow on the issue, focusing on the risk of the dental amalgam for children and pregnant women.

After the meeting and a review of the available research, an independent advisory panel of made up of outside experts will considering whether the amount of exposure to the the heavy metal from the dental implants is a risk. The FDA decided to reassess its findings on mercury-containing fillings after four groups petitioned the agency on the science backing the safety claims.

The agency released materials for the meeting and documentation on dental amalgams Dec. 10.

Approximately 50 percent of an amalgam is mercury and the rest is comprised of silver and other metals, according to the FDA. A higher cost tooth-colored filling is available, but some of these resins may contain bisphenol A, a chemical that has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and sexual dysfunction in people and cancer in mice.

The Massachusetts Medical Devices Journal is the online journal of the medical devices industry in the Commonwealth and New England, providing day-to-day coverage of the devices that save lives, the people behind them, and the burgeoning trends and developments within the industry.

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