For decades, Virginia Pritchett has believed that mercury in her tooth fillings caused her severe neurological problems. And despite the federal government's insistence that such fillings are safe, she has not changed her mind.
So on Thursday, the Mineral Wells woman joined others in Irving to ask a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel to ban the amalgam fillings.
"No more excuses," she told federal officials. "If the government recognizes that mercury in fish is bad, then why would they think it belongs in any person's mouth?"
About half a dozen consumers, dentists and advocacy group representatives shared their concerns on the issue during a town hall meeting with officials from the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
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The meeting comes 20 months after the FDA concluded that levels of mercury in amalgam fillings are not high enough to be harmful to adults and children 6 and older. In reaching its conclusion, the agency considered some 200 scientific studies and invited dental and neurological experts to weigh in. While ruling on the safety of amalgam fillings, it added that fetuses and young children "may be more sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of mercury vapor."
An advisory panel in December agreed with the 2009 conclusion but recommended that the FDA examine more data. Also in 2009, the American Dental Association stated that dental amalgam is a "safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans."
At the meeting in Irving, other speakers raised concerns about the use of medical mesh and joint implants.
Jan Jarvis, 817-390-7664