The US Food and Drug Administration recently said that silver-coloured dental fillings that contain mercury are safe for patients, but added they are considered "moderate risk" devices.
In final regulations issued as part of an earlier legal settlement, the FDA also said the fillings must now include details about the benefits of the products, as well as warnings against their use in patients with mercury allergies or in poorly ventilated areas.
"While elemental mercury has been associated with adverse health effects at high exposures, the levels released by dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients," the FDA said, citing an agency review of roughly 200 scientific studies.
The regulations come a year after the agency settled a lawsuit with several consumer advocacy groups that called on the agency to issue more specific rules.
Millions of Americans have such fillings to patch cavities in their teeth, and the FDA said it does not recommend that patients have them removed. The fillings, also known as amalgams, are a combination of other metals and mercury, which at certain levels has been linked to brain and kidney damage. - (Reuters Health)
A mouth full of poison