After a multi-year strategy, we succeeded in making dental amalgam a major focus of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA's recommendations against amalgam use for children; most women of childbearing age; and people with kidney impairments, neurological disease, and mercury hypersensitivities – a broad swath of Americans – are a gigantic step in the right direction. We even got infographics to help further spread the word. Now we need to make sure this critical information is getting into the hands of the people who need it most: patients.
Here's our opportunity! FDA is now asking: "How should materials information about medical devices be conveyed to patients and healthcare providers?"
Please click here* to submit a comment to FDA by the 18 August deadline. When writing your comment, please consider addressing the following points that can be personalized to make an even bigger impact:
- It is important to get FDA's recommendations against amalgam use into the hands of patients because…… (for example: I/my family member/my friend was not told about amalgam's mercury, we would have chosen mercury-free fillings if we had more information, the American Dental Association is ignoring FDA's recommendations, etc.)
- Information about amalgam that patients need beyond what is included in FDA's recommendations includes...... (for example: how mercury is not safe for anybody, how to safely dispose of amalgam fillings and amalgam-filled teeth that fall out at home, how amalgam's mercury also poses a higher risk to people already exposed to mercury at work or in their diets, etc.)
- Effective ways to get FDA's recommendations against amalgam use into the hands of patients would include...... (for example: a consent form requiring patient signature, a checklist of talking points dentists should discuss with patients, guidance for amalgam manufacturers telling them to include patient labeling, etc.)
If the amalgam issue draws the most responses to the question of how best to convey information to patients, our momentum continues! After all, government policies like FDA's recommendations against amalgam use – however good the intentions – do not implement themselves. It takes citizens like you speaking out to make sure that they are put in action.