Amalgam / Mercury - Dental Filling Toxicity
An often overlooked, but extremely important source of toxic material is the mercury from silver [mercury] amalgam fillings. Some people who are aware of the situation are confused by the mixture of information available. Unfortunately, statements from dental trade organizations and on a few poorly-researched news reports have muddled the situation.
Here are a few facts about mercury amalgam fillings:
Causes Damage to Brain in Children
In February, 1998, a group of the world's top mercury researchers announced that mercury from amalgam fillings can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and immune system of children.
Amalgam Fillings Linked to Neurological Problems, Gastrointestinal Problems
The first large-scale epidemiological study of mercury and adverse reactions was recently completed and showed that of the symptoms looked at, there was a link seen to gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances, concentration problems, memory disturbances, lack of initiative, restlessness, bleeding gums and other mouth disorders.
Mercury / Alzheimer's Disease Connection Found
A study related to mercury and Alzheimer's Disease was recently completed by a team of scientists led by well-respected researcher Dr. Boyd Haley. They exposed rats to levels of mercury vapor diluted to account for size differences between humans and rats. The rats developed tissue damage "indistinguishable" from that of Alzheimer's Disease. Repeating the experiment showed the same results. Dr. Haley is quoted as saying "I'm getting the rest of my fillings taken out right now, and I've asked my wife to have hers replaced too."
Amalgam Fillings Since 1970s Unstable
The type of mercury fillings that began to be used during the last couple of decades, non-gamma-2 (high copper), releases many times more mercury than the older style of amalgam fillings. Also, please see the article on the instability of dental amalgam fillings by Ulf Bengsston.
Amalgam Fillings Release Highly Toxic Elemental Mercury
Mercury is one of the most toxic substances known. The mercury release from fillings is absorbed primarily as highly toxic elemental mercury vapor.
Amalgam Fillings Largest Source of Mercury By Far
Based on a number of studies in Sweden, the World Health Organization review of inorganic mercury in 1991 determined that mercury absorption is estimated to be approximately four times higher from amalgam fillings than from fish consumption. Recent studies have confirmed this estimate. The amount absorbed can vary considerably from person to person.
Gold Crowns, Gum, Bruxism, Computer Monitors Increase Release of Mercury Significantly
Gum chewing, grinding of teeth/bruxism, computer terminal exposure, presence of gold fillings or gold crowns (even if covering mercury fillings), teeth brushing, braces, and chewing cause the release of significantly increased amounts of mercury from the fillings. Also, please see the following short review related to increases in mercury exposure from dissimilar metals in the mouth, exposure to magnetic fields, chewing, etc.
Cumulative Poison and Builds Up in Organs
Mercury released from fillings builds up in the brain, pituitary, adrenal glands, and other parts of the body.
Mercury Amalgam Fillings Effect Porphyrins
Preliminary results from the first detailed biochemical analysis (scroll half-way down) of patients who removed mercury amalgam fillings showed a significant drop in the excretion of porphyrins (important to heme synthesis -- heme carries oxygen to red blood cells), as well as a number of other key biochemical changes.
Potential Contributory Factor in Other Diseases
Mercury from amalgam fillings has been implicated as a possible contributory factor in some cases of Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, IBS, reproductive disorders, allergies, and a variety of other illnesses.
Mercury Build Up in Brain, Organs and Breast Milk of Fetuses of Mothers With Amalgam Fillings
Mercury from fillings in pregnant women has been shown to cause mercury accumulation in brain, kidneys and liver of human fetuses (all of the areas tested). Studies have shown that mercury can be passed to infants from breast milk.
Proper Removal of Fillings Produces Eventual Health Improvement
A recent study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine related to the proper removal of mercury amalgam fillings from 118 subjects showed an elimination or reduction or 80% of the classic mercury poisoning symptoms. In many cases, it took 6 to 12 months after mercury amalgam removal for the symptoms to disappear.
World–renowned Experts Agree About Potential Danger
In contrast to statements from dental trade organizations, toxicologists and medical researchers are often quite concerned about the use of mercury. Lars Friberg, the lead toxicologist on the World Health Organization team looking at inorganic mercury and health effects recently stated that he believes that mercury is unsuitable for dental materials because of safety concerns.
Canadian Class Action Lawsuit
Canadians are in the process of beginning a major class action lawsuit based on the fact that the government knew of but did not warn the public about mercury dangers from amalgam fillings. Legal actions related to mercury exposure from mercury amalgam fillings and vaccines are beginning in the United States.
Obviously, not everyone experiences acute toxicity effects from the mercury in amalgam fillings. However, virtually everyone does have mercury build up in their bodies from implantation of such fillings. The large increase in mercury exposure from the newer non-gamma-2 mercury fillings means that only time will tell how much damage has been caused by daily exposure to mercury to such fillings.
Mercury amalgam fillings should be removed only by dentists with experience using a safe removal procedure such as the Dr. Huggins Protocol. Such dentists are often experienced with proper evaluation and placement of composite fillings, both of which can be crucial for the success of the treatment. Biocompatibility tests are often important in determining which composite materials can be safely used. While composite (plastic) fillings are a better replacement than metal (e.g., gold) fillings even in chemically-sensitive individuals, they are not without safety questions. Proper placement of composites should be left to experienced amalgam removal dentists as the average well-meaning dentist may not be aware of the newer placement techniques.
Further scientific information can be found at Mercury Adverse Effects Web Page and Alt Corp's Amalgam Page. More information about removal, detoxification, and placement of composite fillings can be found at the Preventive Dental Association. Information about finding a dentist practicing non-toxic dentistry can be found on the Resources For Related to Non-Toxic Dentistry web page.