Apr 102012

By Dr. Mercola

Has the FDA officially gone mad?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that mercury poisoning has been linked to skin products i.
The products in question are  primarily skin  lighteners and anti-aging treatments, most of which are manufactured overseas  and sold illegally in the United States.
“Exposure to mercury can have  serious health consequences,” says Charles Lee, M.D., a senior medical advisor  at FDA.
“It can damage the kidneys and the nervous  system, and interfere with the development of the brain in unborn children and  very young children.”
…  “You don’t have to use the  product yourself to be affected, says FDA toxicologist Mike Bolger, Ph.D.
“People—particularly children—can get mercury in their  bodies from breathing in mercury vapors if a member of the household uses a  skin cream containing mercury.”
Infants and small children can ingest mercury if they touch  their parents who have used these products, get cream on their hands and then  put their hands and fingers into their mouth, which they are prone to do, adds  Bolger.”
This is a remarkable admission from  an agency that repeatedly has refused to acknowledge the dangers inherent with  dental amalgams, which contain about 50 percent mercury—not silver, as the name  “silver fillings” might have you believe.

What Can Be More Dangerous than Implanting a Neurotoxin in Your Mouth?

The American Dental Association  (ADA) at one time owned the patent for mercury fillings. Both the ADA and FDA  have fraudulently been using the term “silver fillings” for decades. This is  why so few people realize they’re actually walking around with, in some cases,  sizeable amounts of mercury in their teeth! An estimated 75 percent of Americans  are ignorant about that fact that half of each amalgam filling is mercury, and  this is clearly the result of the ADA’s tactical move to popularize the term  “silver fillings.”
The FDA even removed the following statement  from its website: “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have  neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and  fetuses.”
According  to Charlie Brown, national counsel,  Consumers for Dental Choice:
“To conceal the mercury from America’s parents  and consumers, the American Dental Association promoted amalgam as “silver  fillings.”  The term is a gigantic fraud;  amalgam has twice as much mercury as silver.   In Spanish amalgam is similarly promoted fraudulenty, as “amalgama plata”.  The  ADA’s partner in perpetuating this cover-up is the U.S. Food and Drug  Administration, who cleverly, but deceitfully, says they are called “silver”  because of the color. . The FDA knows better. ”  Gold fillings are called gold because of  their material, not color.  Under the  dictionary definition of “silver,” the primary meaning if the material, with  money second, silverware third, and the color fourth or fifth.  That our nation’s consumer protection agency  on devices unabashedly takes the side of the promoter of a consumer fraud is  profoundly troubling.
If the presence of mercury in skin  cream warrants this kind of prominent action from the FDA, why does the agency  refuse to address concerns about placing 1-2 grams of dental amalgam, half of  which is mercury, into the mouths of children and pregnant women?  A decade ago state Medicaid programs promised  to pay for any material, but Connecticut recently decided that low-income  families must now choose between mercury fillings and no fillings.  For children with disabilities in  Philadelphia, for prisoners in California, for Native Americans on  reservations, it is is ths same dismal choice: mercury in the mouth, or no  dental care…

Dental Amalgam = Continuous Exposure to Mercury

It’s  important to realize that once you get an amalgam filling, you’re continually  exposed to mercury. Every time you chew, the filling releases mercury vapor into your mouth that deposits and  accumulates in your tissues over time.  Mercury  vapors readily pass through cell membranes, across your blood-brain barrier and  into your central nervous system, where it causes psychological, neurological,  and immunological problems. Children and fetuses, whose brains are still  developing, are most at risk, but really anyone can be impacted.
A  1999 report from the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a  division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggested  dental amalgams may account for as much as 75 percent of a person’s daily  mercury exposure. And the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that  between 3-17 micrograms of mercury are released into the body each day by  chewing, compared to only 2-5 micrograms from fish and all other environmental  sources combined. An editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine also stated that dental amalgams were “possibly the chief source of exposure [to mercury] of a large segment of the U.S. population ii“.

Why is the FDA and ADA Protecting the Use of Mercury in Dentistry?

The 2008 Obama/Biden Plan for a  Healthy America stressed preventive approaches to disease, including the  reduction of toxins. Chief among these toxins was mercury. In their final  report on dental amalgam, Future Use of  Materials for Dental Restorationiii, the  World  Health Organization (WHO) also took a firm stance againstthe use of mercury in dentistry. In it,  WHO states that amalgam “has been associated with general health  concerns” and releases a “significant amount of mercury” into  the environment. It also notes that alternatives to amalgam are readily  available.
Still, nothing has been done so far  to eliminate one of the primary  sources of exposure in the US, namely dental amalgams.
Other countries are faring much  better. Many are already protecting vulnerable populations, especially  children, from exposure to amalgam. For example:
  • The 47 nations of the Council of  Europe passed a resolution calling on the nations to start “restricting or  prohibiting the use of amalgams as dental fillings,” explaining that  “amalgams are the prime source of exposure to mercury for developed  countries, also affecting embryos, fetuses (through the placenta) and children  (through breastfeeding).
  • Australia’s National Health &  Medical Research Council (NHMRC) says amalgam should be avoided in pregnant  women, nursing mothers, children, and people with kidney disease.
  • Health Canada directed its dentists  to stop using amalgam in children, pregnant women, and people with impaired  kidney function – way back in 1996.
  • Germany’s federal court has ruled  that dentists who use mercury fillings can face legal liability.
After an ongoing and vigorous  campaign to educate Americans on the dangers of dental amalgams, it looked  promising when Jeff Shuren, Director of FDA’s Center for Devices, finally promised an announcement on the amalgam rule by end  of 2011.  But, his promise fell flat. With just minutes to go before the  end of the work year, the agency declared it would not issue a statement about  mercury fillings  When pressed by the  trade press, FDA added that it has  no  plans and no timetable – and may never do anything…
(INSERT  Sandra speaking:  Click on the link at the top of this page for the full article.  There is a video in it.)
Is it possible that the stated safety of mercury fillings  just a big lie to protect the massive liability the ADA, dentists,  and mercury filling manufacturers would be exposed to if the FDA would admit  mercury fillings actually cause harm?
Is this absolute proof the FDA is willing to accept harm to  patients to protect corporate interests?
The mission of the FDA is to protect  consumers and patients, but it’s extremely difficult to believe in the case of  mercury… Sure, the agency tries to show it cares by coming down hard on a few  little guys—rogue skin cream companies that don’t have well-paid lobbyists on  The Hill. But when faced with powerful corporate interests, the FDA does  nothing.

The Revolving Doors Between the FDA and Various Industries…

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg  could perhaps shed some light on the issue. She participated in the rule making  even though she’s a former director and board member of Henry Schein,  the largest provider of professional dental products.
According to Charlie Brown:
“In order to be appointed  Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg  was  required to sign, and did sign, a contract promising not to work on any matter  affecting Schein Inc. while holding its stock or stock option.  While  still holding Schein stock option, she worked on the amalgam rule.  Specifically, she insisted on a staff meeting with her on July 1, 2009, to  shape the pending amalgam rule; this meeting plainly violated her written  promise.  Records of the 7/1/09 meeting were heavily redacted before being  turned over to me.
I wrote the Commissioner three  times to ask her to get out of the rule-making  process; my letters were ignored until a minor media hubbub occurredt.   Hamburg perhaps disqualified herself at that point – or perhaps not, because  she never filed a disqualification letter, and FDA refuses to say the date she  stopped working on the amalgam rule.  In any case, she continued to  correspond secretly with Schein’s general counsel (on her private email  account) through the entire rule-making process.  Immediately after the  rule was announced,  Schein’s general  counsel said the company is “indebted to you”; the following week  Schein’s CEO praised the FDA Commissioner for  providing “insights” to Schein  board  members — fully five months after she took office.”
In short, it would appear FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg never  really stopped working for Henry Schein Inc…

“No Comment”…

Jim Dickinson, editor of FDA  Webview, wrote an insightful editorial concerning  FDA’s intransigence  in his March 8 post, titled 180  Degrees: FDA’s 2 Faces on Mercury Risksiv.

“When  you’re daubing on mercury skin creams and cosmetics, FDA wants you to know how  toxic the mercury vapor coming from them can be not only to you but everyone  near you, especially infants and children. But when your dentist is jamming  mercury amalgam into your teeth, and contrary to increasing evidence to the  contrary, FDA on its Web site wants you know that it “has reviewed the best available scientific evidence to determine  whether the low levels of mercury vapor associated with dental amalgam fillings  are a cause for concern. Based on this evidence, FDA considers dental amalgam  fillings safe for adults and children ages 6 and above.”
…  Asked to explain the apparent contradiction in the agency’s position on mercury  safety, and specifically asked if there were dosage exposure differences  between the two kinds of mercury products, FDA ducked the issue. Press officer  for cosmetics, Siobhan DeLancey replied: “I don’t handle the dental side, but I  am copying Michelle Bolek, who handles dental amalgam issues.”
Bolek  passed it to Morgan Liscinski, who five hours later answered: “We have no  further comment regarding the issue of dental amalgam.”
The  obvious difference between the two FDA postures could be that in the unapproved  imported creams and cosmetics case, no powerful industry that has clout at HHS  could be offended by hostile FDA action, while in the dental amalgam case,  powerful interests (e.g. the pro-mercury 156,000-member American Dental  Association and commissioner Margaret Hamburg’s former investment interest,  leading amalgam distributor Henry Schein, Inc.) probably do have clout at HHS  and could well be offended by FDA action against amalgam.”

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