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Issue Date:- 11 August 2008


A local Euro-MP is calling for the use of mercury fillings by local dentists to be reviewed after the world’s top regulatory agency suggested they may pose a health risk.

Mercury is used in amalgam fillings that are placed in tens of millions of teeth worldwide each year. Around 125 tons of mercury is used each year in dental treatments in the EU alone.  Recent studies have suggested that mercury fillings may have detrimental affects on the health of some patients. Reported side effects include impaired kidney and thyroid function, increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other allergic reactions.

After years of insisting the fillings are safe, the US governments Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a health warning about them.  The FDA now claims that the mercury in dental fillings may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and foetuses. The FDA continues to insist that amalgam fillings are safe, durable and cost effective and do not pose a risk of systemic disease, though it advises pregnant women to avoid any dental intervention.  The FDA is now reviewing its rules and may end up restricting or banning the use of the metal.

Norway and Denmark banned mercury from fillings earlier this year. Sweden has cut its use by more than 90% over the past decade and mercury use is heavily restricted in Finland and Japan.

Liberal Democrat Chris Davies, who was assured by the European Commission 4 years ago that mercury fillings were safe, says there needs to be a new examination of the safety concerns.

Mr Davies has asked the EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou to reconsider the evidence in light of the FDA statement.  He said:- “I am keeping an open mind on this subject. The majority of scientific opinion suggests that mercury fillings are safe, but it does seem strange that we should be banning mercury from electrical goods while still allowing it to be put into people’s mouths.”

British Gas takes heat away from the vulnerable

IT is not just the elderly who will suffer this coming winter. Spare a thought for the 10 million people in the UK who suffer from Raynaud's phenomenon, a condition in which blood is prevented from reaching the extremities on exposure to the cold or any slight change in temperature. Without adequate heat a Raynaud's attack may occur, in which the fingers and toes turn white, then blue and finally red when the blood flow is restored. This whole process is excruciatingly painful. Without heat there is a risk of developing finger ulcers, gangrene and at worst amputation of their fingers.

So how are these vulnerable people going to cope with their fuel bills? Probably only by heating certain rooms and this in turn can lead to greater problems as a Raynaud's attack can be triggered by moving from a warm room into an unheated room.

There is no cure for Raynaud's and treatments are inadequate due to the many side effects, so heat is the only way in which people who have the condition severely can survive. If you have Raynaud's you need heat all the year round not just in the winter.

Anne Mawdsley MBE, Chief Executive of the Raynaud's & Scleroderma Association and a sufferer of severe Raynaud's says:- “It is an absolute disgrace that British Gas are permitted to implement such a rise without giving thought to those who have a medical condition for which heat is their only way of alleviating the problem. Even last winter we were getting calls from people asking if there was any way in which they could get an allowance towards their heating bills. I dread to think wat the coming winter will be like”.

The Raynaud's & Scleroderma Association has a new leaflet containing Handy Hints on Keeping Warm and also a leaflet of tried and tested heating aids which are available.  These can be obtained by sending an SAE to The RSA, 112 Crewe Road, Alsager, Cheshire ST7 2JA or by calling 0800 917 2494 and leaving their details.

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