Panel: More study needed on fillings

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Government health advisers rejected a federal report that concluded dental fillings used by millions of patients are safe, saying further study of the mercury-laden amalgam is needed.
A panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers did not declare the so-called "silver fillings" unsafe. But in a 13-7 vote Thursday, the advisers said the federal report didn't objectively and clearly present the current state of knowledge about the fillings.
In a second 13-7 vote, the panelists said the report's conclusions about safety weren't reasonable.
The FDA had asked the panel of outside advisers to weigh the report, a review of 34 recent research studies.
The report had found "no significant new information" that would change the FDA's earlier determination that mercury-based fillings don't harm patients, except in rare cases where they have allergic reactions.
But panelists said remaining uncertainties about the risk of so-called silver fillings demanded further study. In particular, research is needed on the effect of mercury-laden fillings on children and the fetuses of pregnant women with fillings.

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