Mercury fillings given to millions of Britons every year can be dangerous, the world’s biggest health regulator has warned.
Simply chewing could release harmful mercury vapour from the fillings which could be breathed into the lungs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
The regulator had previously advised U.S. dentists that the fillings are safe.
Despite the warning, the British Department of Health issued its own statement yesterday that it continued to believe mercury fillings posed no danger.
Patients in Britain have about eight million mercury fillings a year, a million of which are in children and young adults.
Campaigners blame the highly toxic mercury found in amalgam fillings for a range of ailments.
These include fatigue, depression heart conditions and Alzheimer’s disease.
Earlier this month, the U.S. regulator dropped much of its reassuring language on the fillings from its website.
Instead it now says: ‘Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and foetuses.’
It adds that mercury vapour is released when amalgam fillings are placed or removed, and during the chewing of food.
The FDA is now carrying out an urgent review of its rules and may end up banning mercury fillings.
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