International Health News

Amalgam dental fillings are a health hazard

NEW YORK, NY. Dr. Gary Null, PhD and Dr. Martin Feldman, MD have just released a major report concerning the health hazards of dental amalgam (silver) fillings. They point to incontrovertible evidence that mercury continually leaches from amalgam fillings at a rate of about 10-50 times the safe limit (0.28 microgram/day) set by the US Public Health Service. Mercury has been linked to birth defects, multiple sclerosis, fatigue, Alzheimer's disease, depression, anxiety, reduced immune function, antibiotic resistance, and impaired kidney function. Researchers have found that mercury is a potent killer of white blood cells and that proper removal of amalgam fillings will restore white blood cell counts to healthy levels. There is also evidence that the number of T-cells (an important part of immune defenses) decreases substantially when amalgam fillings are placed in the mouth, but increases again once the fillings are removed.

The American Dental Association (ADA) maintains that amalgam fillings are safe – a position made completely untenable by the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared amalgam to be a hazardous material. It is interesting that the ADA, when confronted by a lawsuit regarding the use of amalgam fillings, made the following statement in its defense, "The ADA owes no legal duty of care to protect the public from allegedly dangerous products used by dentists."

Several studies have found that chewing markedly increases the amount of mercury released from amalgam fillings into the mouth and that these mercury vapours easily find their way into the pituitary gland and the brain. Autopsies performed at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden revealed that people with amalgam fillings had three times more mercury in the brain and nine times more in the kidneys than did people with no amalgam fillings.

Common bacteria found in the mouth and intestines can convert mercury to methylmercury, a compound that is 100 times more toxic than is elemental mercury. Methylmercury passes both the blood-brain and placental barriers and following a large exposure can remain in the brain for 10 years or more. Considering that dentists still place about one million amalgam fillings in the mouths of American citizens every day it is clear that disorders caused by amalgam toxicity is a horrendous problem. Not everyone is sensitive to mercury, but various studies estimate the percentage that are to be somewhere between 10 and 44 per cent. Fortunately, a few governments are beginning to wake up to the dangers and are passing laws restricting or outright banning the use of amalgam fillings. The German, Norwegian, Swedish, Canadian and British governments have advised dentists not to install or remove amalgam fillings in pregnant women. Since November 2000 the following sign has been posted in all dental offices in California, "WARNING – Amalgam fillings contain a chemical element known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm". The California Dental Association apparently lobbied successfully to ensure that the word mercury did not appear in the warning.

The Australian Society of Oral Medicine and Toxicology has concluded that mercury in amalgam fillings is continuously released from the fillings and accumulates in tissues throughout the body where it interferes with many physiological functions.
Null, Gary and Feldman, Martin. Mercury dental amalgams: the controversy continues. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2nd Quarter 2002, pp. 85-110 [180 references]
Editor's comment: There is no question in my mind that amalgam fillings pose a serious health risk to everyone whether or not they actually exhibit symptoms of mercury toxicity at this time. New amalgam fillings should be avoided and old ones replaced with composite fillings under safe conditions when it becomes necessary.

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