‘No health risk’ over amalgam fillings

Amalgam fillings containing mercury pose no health risk to the human nervous system, a European Union scientific committee has claimed.

The findings reflect the opinions of some dentists and governments, who have insisted the material is safer and more durable than alternatives.

But patients’ organisations have disputed the results, claiming amalgam is dangerous.

‘The facts do not add up – mercury is the third most toxic poison in the world and we are still putting it in people’s mouths,’ said Becky Dutton, of patient organisation Mercury Madness.

The EU said it had investigated claims of a link between amalgams and a variety of systemic conditions, particularly neurological and psychological or psychiatric effects.

The committee said: ‘It is concluded however, that no risks of adverse systemic effects exist and the current use of dental amalgam does not pose a risk of systemic disease.’

Relatively low doses of mercury have been linked to adverse neuro-development impacts.

Many European countries advise against use of amalgam for children and pregnant women due to its impact on brain development, but patient organisations believe that anyone carrying an average of 2.5 grams in their mouths is also at risk.

‘All I can say is that if mercury/amalgams are so safe why have three countries just banned them?’ added anti-mercury campaigner Dutton.

This month the Swedish government is expected to decide on a ban, while Denmark and Norway are taking similar steps.

Another patient organisation in Spain said it rejected the provisional report because it was partial and ignored the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other scientists’ recommendations.

The report was prepared by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) and is made up of external experts.

A public consultation will run to 22 February, after which the EU could potentially revise the preliminary report.

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