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On Friday, Dec. 10th, 2010, NBC News had a report of a Flip/Flop in the government's policies about Mercury/Silver Amalgam Fillings.
The FDA's position is supported by the American Dental Assn., which says that treatment decisions should be left to patients and their dentists.
Opponents say FDA used flawed science in setting the safe level for mercury exposure too high, especially for pregnant women and children.
They want dental amalgam either banned or subject to extensive testing to prove safety.
The advisory committee will not vote on specific recommendations, but will discuss a series of technical questions about how exposure to mercury is measured, whether safe levels of exposure have been set correctly and the reliability of studies of mercury on humans.
Amalgam, which can also include silver, tin, copper and zinc, has been use for more than 150 years, in hundreds of millions of patients.
It releases mercury vapor, which can be absorbed by the body. High levels of mercury vapor are associated with brain and kidney disorders.
Advocates of a ban argue that harm from amalgam has been overlooked because mercury builds up in the body over many years, obscuring its link to illness.
Amalgam is silver-colored and the cheapest and longest-lasting dental filling. But its use has been falling in recent years because of concerns about mercury and a consumer preference for composite resin fillings that can be matched to the color of surrounding teeth.