Experts concerned that children of color and low-income children still receive unsafe mercury fillings

Experts continue to express concern that many children of color and low-income children are still receiving mercury fillings despite the risks.  In their Health Affairs article “Children of Color and Low-Income Kids Still Receive Unsafe Mercury-Based Dental Fillings”, Dr. Rueben C. Warren, DDS, MPH, DrPH, MDiv of Tuskegee University and Dr. Mark Mitchell,MD, MPH, FACPM of George Mason University observe that…

“The data on the extent of amalgam use in the US are sparse and out of date, but in our experience as dental and medical professionals, we’ve seen that Black, Latino, Native American, and low-income kids are much more likely to get mercury-based amalgam fillings than their more affluent non-Hispanic White counterparts.”

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Another major manufacturer exits the amalgam business

Dentsply Sirona quietly stopped its amalgam sales, as announced last year.  Now the other major U.S. amalgam manufacturer, Kerr (currently a subsidiary of Envista Holdings Corporation and previously a subsidiary of Danaher), has announced that it has “…ceased manufacturing all Alloy products, including all of our amalgam products that may contain mercury.” Kerr goes on to explain that….
“Specifically, we ceased manufacturing these products in the third quarter of 2021 and communicated this decision to our customers in November of 2021. As part of this communication, we cancelled many of our customers outstanding orders for amalgams containing mercury and directed our customers to our other materials that do not contain mercury. We also engaged in a vigorous campaign to assist our customers in swapping their amalgam products containing mercury to materials that do not contain mercury.”

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Leading dental products manufacturer stops selling amalgam 

In the clearest sign yet that amalgam is headed to the dustbins of history, Dentsply Sirona – the world’s largest manufacturer of dental products – has exited the amalgam market.  In its annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, this industry behemoth quietly noted: “[W]e have discontinued sales for all amalgam products as of December 2020.”

The coup de grâce for Dentsply appears to have been U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation against amalgam use in high-risk populations.  As Dentsply explained:

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FDA doubles down with new amalgam infographics

Showing its interest in the public learning about its recommendation against amalgam use in children, young women, and people with kidney and neurological disease (plus others), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released two infographics to reinforce its point.  These infographics are also available in Spanish.

You can help make sure FDA’s infographics get into the hands of every patient, family member, friend, neighbor, and colleague in your network by…

  • Printing and distributing FDA’s infographics. You can post them on community bulletin boards or if you are a health professional you can display them in your office.
  • Sharing FDA’s infographics on FacebookTwitter, and other social media. Try using this hashtag: #mercuryfree
  • Incorporating FDA’s infographics into your website or e-newsletter.

Circulating FDA’s new infographics is an important step toward protecting vulnerable populations from amalgam – and a first step toward ending all amalgam use for everybody!

New FDA safety communication recommends against amalgam use for millions of Americans

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety communication recommending against amalgam use in people who are at higher risk from the adverse effects of mercury exposure, including…

  • Pregnant women and their developing babies
  • Women who are planning to become pregnant
  • Nursing women and their newborns and infants
  • Children, especially those younger than six years of age
  • People with pre-existing neurological disease
  • People with impaired kidney function
  • People with known heightened sensitivity (allergy) to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.

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