FDA and Mercury

The following appeared in a letter to the editor in the Sarasota Herald Tribune that I submitted in August 2009:

In 1978 Congress ordered FDA to require that all medical and dental devices be classified (to reflect their safety and efficacy) based on sound scientific evidence. In a shocking recent announcement, certain FDA officials apparently chose to ignore or disregard dozens of reliable peer-reviewed research studies documenting significant human health risks posed by mercury derived from dental fillings. In fact FDA has now classified this substance – which has been declared by EPA as a toxic waste disposal hazard! – as a class II dental device, meaning FDA is claiming it is harmless. Paradoxically this ‘opinion’ of safety stands in direct contradiction to the conclusions of its own 2006 Joint Panel of FDA scientific experts.  It also stands in contrast to the FDA’s own current advisories that pregnant women limit their dietary intake of certain fish due to their mercury content – even though it is known that mercury dental fillings contribute 2-3 times as much mercury to human body burden that do air/dietary & environmental sources combined.. As more and more devastating neurological and other disorders continue to be linked to mercury, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology is increasingly concerned about the widespread over-exposure of the human population to mercury. Yet the FDA, the federal agency entrusted by Congress and the American public to advise and protect us from harmful products is now on record assuring us that the single greatest source of mercury, the most potent neuro-toxic element on earth, is now harmless even to pregnant women and children.