FDA Panel to Review Dental Amalgam Risks

WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it will hold an advisory panel meeting to discuss safety issues involving the use of dental amalgam.

The Dec. 14-15 meeting will focus on several scientific issues that might affect the regulation of dental amalgam, used for direct filling of cavities or structural defects in teeth. The FDA said the panel will specifically focus on the potential risk to vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, fetuses, and children.

Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, composed of liquid mercury and a powdered amalgam alloy composed primarily of silver, tin and copper.

FDA officials said they have received several petitions raising concerns involving the adequacy of the risk assessment method used by the FDA in classifying dental amalgam, the bioaccumulative effect of mercury, the exposure of pediatric populations to mercury vapor and the adequacy of the clinical studies on dental amalgam.

Details about the advisory panel meeting will be published Friday in the Federal Register and are available online Thursday only at http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-14084_PI.pdf.

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