Amalgam is a Neurotoxin – FDA Recommendations Need to be Implemented

A year ago, the Food and Drug Administration released their recommendations that high-risk populations (pregnant and nursing women, children, people with neurological or kidney disorders) avoid dental amalgam which is 50% mercury.
LDA of America, LDA of Michigan and other LDA State Affiliates asked the White House Council on Environmental Quality to push the federal agencies that provide dental care to millions of Americans to implement the FDA’s recommendations, and ensure these high-risk populations have access to mercury-free dentistry.
Below is the press release sharing this news along with a link to the full letter.

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Washington: Frustrated that a year has passed since the US Food and Drug Administration, over  50 organizations have now turned to the White House, calling on Council on Environmental  Quality to insist that federal agencies providing dental care implement the new federal health  policy.  

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, on September 24, 2020, issued a safety communication  admonishing the use of amalgam for “high-risk populations” – defined as (1) children; (2)  women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, and planning to become pregnant; (3) people with  neurological disorders; and (4) people with kidney impairments. Despite the availability of  alternatives that are comparably-priced, safe, and environmentally friendly, federal agencies,  which provide dental care to millions of Americans, have yet to implement these  recommendations.  

A primitive, pre-Civil War pollutant, amalgam is 50% mercury. FDA stepped up a year ago to  end the two-tiered dentistry and extend the protection across the board, regardless of income,  race or social status, for children and most young women. The movement to end amalgam is  worldwide – the United States is a party to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, calls for each  party to initiate a transition to mercury-free dentistry  

“One would suppose that our government agencies would be first in line to implement federal  health policy to the consumers they serve — but the reverse is true,” said Charlie Brown of  Consumers for Dental Choice. “Dug-in bureaucracies who serve millions of Americans, like the  Department of Defense, the Indian Health Service, and the Bureau of Prisons, are not following  federal health policy – nor is Medicaid the chief financer of dental care for the poor.” 

“The whole life cycle of amalgam adds to cumulative and disproportionate impacts on  communities of color,” said Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Executive Director of the Children’s  Environmental Health Network. “These communities already face higher exposure to mercury  and other harmful chemicals where they live, learn, and work.” 

“Even a small exposure of a neurotoxin at the wrong time of development can have a lifelong impact, including in the womb and for the breastfeeding baby” said Tracy Gregoire with the  Learning Disabilities Association of America. “There is no known safe level of mercury for  children or adults.” 

“Amalgam use by these government bureaucracies means that military bases, Tribal Lands, and  federal prisons become increasingly polluted with toxic mercury,” said Pam Miller, Executive  Director of the Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “We must stop this unnecessary polluting  of places where Indigenous Peoples, service members, and institutionalized persons live.”

“The National Medical Association has called for the immediate end of amalgam use in high-risk  populations in all government programs,” said Dr. Mark Mitchell, Co-Chair, Commission on  Environmental Health for the National Medical Association. “Amalgam is prevalent in  government programs and institutional dentistry. A year is long enough. These programs must  heed the FDA recommendations and end the use of amalgam in high-risk populations including  children, pregnant and nursing women.” 

“No safe level exists – for people, for food, or for fish,” said Eve Gartner, managing attorney for  the Toxic Exposure and Health Program at Earthjustice. “Proven and safe alternatives to  amalgam are available – which middle-class Americans get now. It’s time that the FDA safety  communication apply to all people receiving care done by, or financed by, our federal  government.” 

“The ask to the Council on Environmental Quality is simple: tell the Indian Health Services,  Department of Defense, Bureau of Prisons, and the VA to immediately cease placing amalgam in  these vulnerable populations highlighted by the FDA: children; women who are pregnant,  breastfeeding, or planning pregnancy; patients with kidney disease; and patients with a  neurological disease,” said Katie Huffling, Executive Director of the Alliance of Nurses for  Healthy Environments. 

Amalgam is the largest use of mercury in America today. Because it is implanted into people, its  pollution cannot be contained by technology – hence the mercury goes into the water and then into  fish, and into the ground and then into vegetables. Signing onto the letter to CEQ include  disability, health, environmental justice, and major environmental groups such as Earthjustice,  the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace.  

The signers commend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for this initiative. FDA not only  issued recommendations, but followed up with useful Infographics, both in English and in  Spanish. 

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Letter to the White House CEQ