[Federal Register: May 9, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 90)]
[Page 25047-25048]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Food and Drug Administration

[Docket No. 03N-0169]

Dental Amalgam; Request for Information

AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION: Notice.


[[Page 25048]]

SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is providing an 
opportunity for interested persons to provide information for a 
scientific literature review related to the health effects of dental 
amalgam in humans. Over the years there has been concern about the safe 
use of dental amalgam because of the presence of mercury. FDA is 
publishing this notice to gather recommendations from the scientific 
and lay communities about peer-reviewed journal articles from 1996 to 
2002 that address human health risks from dental amalgam.

DATES: Submit information by June 2, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Submit written information to the Dockets Management Branch 
(HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, 
Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic information to http://www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Runner, Center for Devices and 
Radiological Health (HFZ-480), Food and Drug Administration, 9200 
Corporate Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850, 301-827-5283.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dental amalgam has been in use as a 
restorative material for approximately 150 years. It consists of an 
alloy of powdered silver, tin, copper and sometimes smaller amounts of 
zinc, palladium, or indium. Elemental liquid mercury holds these 
powders together. There has been concern about the safety of dental 
amalgam because of its mercury content. In 1993, to address this 
concern, the Subcommittee on Risk Management of the Committee to 
Coordinate Environmental Health and Related Programs of the Public 
Health Service (PHS) completed a major review of the scientific 
literature on the use and safety of dental amalgam.
    The review concluded that there was no evidence that dental amalgam 
posed a serious health risk in humans except in the very few instances 
of localized allergic reactions. The World Health Organization as well 
as the Working Group on Dental Amalgam of the Environmental Health 
Policy Committee of the PHS reaffirmed this conclusion.
    In 1997, the Working Group on Dental Amalgam, with input from a 
broad cross-section of scientists and dental professionals, issued a 
joint report. This report indicated that the current body of literature 
through 1997 does not support claims that individuals with dental 
amalgam restorations will experience adverse effects, except for rare 
allergic or hypersensitivity reactions. Adverse effects include 
neurological, renal, or developmental effects.
    There was a review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature on 
studies of the health effects of dental amalgam in 1993 and 1998. A 
current review, covering the literature from 1996 through 2002, is in 
the planning stages. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial 
Research in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention and FDA are sponsoring the review. The purpose of the review 
is to determine whether any studies published in the peer-reviewed, 
scientific literature provide new evidence related to the health 
effects of dental amalgam in humans. An independent group will conduct 
the review in the latter part of 2003.
    The review will include articles from standard bibliometric 
databases as well as suggestions from the scientific and lay 
    Scientific and lay communities should provide the following 
information to recommend an article for consideration:
    [sbull] Name(s) of author(s),
    [sbull] Complete title of article,
    [sbull] Name of peer-reviewed journal,
    [sbull] Year of publication,
    [sbull] Volume number of journal,
    [sbull] Page numbers of article.
    Recommended articles should shed light on the possible health 
effects of dental amalgam in humans. Articles published in peer-
reviewed journals should be from the time period between January 1, 
1996, and June 1, 2003.
    Interested persons may submit to the Dockets Management Branch (see 
ADDRESSES) written or electronic information regarding this document. 
Submit a single copy of electronic information or two paper copies of 
any mailed information, except individuals may submit one paper copy. 
Information is to be identified with the docket number found in 
brackets in the heading of this document. Any received information may 
be seen in the Dockets Management Branch between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., 
Monday through Friday.

    Dated: May 1, 2003.
Linda S. Kahan,
Deputy Director, Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
[FR Doc. 03-11648 Filed 5-8-03; 8:45 am]