Filling A Need For Mercury-Amalgam Facts

By Jeff Clark & Sandy Duffy, Esq.

Dentistry has perpetrated an uncontrolled multi-generational mercury experiment on the American people. Mercury amalgam dental fillings have never been subjected to the regulatory scrutiny and approval process demanded of all modern drugs and medical devices in order to prove safety. Only in the last few years have controlled experiments with animals been conducted by scientists in an effort to begin assessing scientifically the effects of dental amalgam on human beings for the past 150+ years. The American Dental Association (ADA) owes its existence to the controversy over using mercury as a tooth filling. Before mercury amalgam became the standard in dental practice only the rich could afford gold fillings -- the rest of the population went to the barber for tooth extraction. Mercury amalgam enabled dentists to provide much cheaper tooth fillings - an efficiency which greatly expanded the number of people who could afford professional dental services. The dispute that killed the original Association of Dental Surgeons and formed today's ADA was between those who were against the insertion of a poison in the human mouth, and those who had dollar signs in their eyes [1]. Money won. Until now dentistry has used marketing, political influence, and control of regulatory boards at all levels to impose its self-serving economic view that mercury amalgam is completely safe. But the scientific studies that would prove safety (or non-safety) have never been produced by the ADA, dental schools, or mercury-amalgam manufacturers. Marketing has long been dentistry's first line of defense for its use of mercury. The true nature of mercury amalgam has been disguised with the soothing label "silver filling". Efforts to gain the public's trust and confidence have created the widespread impression that the ADA is a scientifically-based organization and that amalgam is safe. For many people, conditioned to trusting authorities, it is too unbelievable even to consider the possibility that their dentist has been poisoning them with mercury. Science has never been the driving force behind the ADA's public information on mercury. When asked about the safety of mercury amalgam the response previously used was: "once set, the mercury becomes completely stable and locked up, it doesn't leak out". After it was unequivocally demonstrated in the 1980's that mercury vapor continuously escapes from mercury-amalgam fillings, the ADA repositioned itself in 1997. While it still claims that the mercury is permanently "bonded," in amalgam, the ADA now states that "the small amount of mercury released from amalgam restorations, especially during placement and removal, has not been shown to cause any adverse health effects." [2] This assertion has been adopted by the ADA, FDI World Dental Federation, and the World Health Organization in a consensus agreement. However, it is strongly contradicted by recent scientific research and by what scientists independent of the dental industry have been learning through the study of mercury exposure from amalgams in humans and animals. Mercury escapes from amalgam and is absorbed into the human body as mercury vapor, as ionic mercury dissolved in saliva, and as unknown forms of mercury which penetrate directly through the tooth pulp and root into the bloodstream.[3] Ionic mercury in saliva is converted to methylmercury, the most poisonous form of mercury.[4] Human studies on exposure have measured the amount of mercury vapor in an individual's mouth, the quantity of mercury in saliva and mercury excretion in urine and feces, and compared those figures with data from individuals who have never had any mercury fillings. There is an extremely wide range of dental mercury exposure and uptake from person to person. The high end of the range reaches 100 micrograms of mercury per day in a single individual. That some people have such high daily mercury uptake from their fillings is very disturbing, given the highly toxic nature of mercury.[5] [6] [7] [8] Animal experiments with amalgam produce further cause for alarm. There are genetically determined susceptibilities to mercury-caused systemic illness. Some animal strains are highly sensitive with quite noticeable trace mineral disturbances and immune system activation after mercury amalgams are placed into their teeth. Other strains are highly resistant with only small pathological changes observed in response to mercury amalgam.[9] In genetically susceptible animals, mercury concentrations in the same range as those measured from amalgam fillings have been found to cause autoimmune disease, inhibiting and disturbing immune system functions.[10] [11] [12] [13] [14] Mercury concentrations measured from amalgam fillings are known to be toxic to human brain cells. Exposure to these levels of mercury in laboratory experiments resulted in the formation of three types of cell damage characteristic of Alzheimer's Disease: the formation of neurofibrillary tangles, the presence of amyloid plaques and the creation of tau phosphorylation in susceptible tissue cultures. [15] [16] [17] These three formations are the primary diagnostic features a pathologist looks for in a deceased person's brain to confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Mercury travels from amalgam fillings into the jaw, gut, liver, kidneys, glands and brain, crosses the placenta to the fetus, and is found in mother's milk.[18] [19] [20] [21] [22] Dental mercury exposure in the genetically diverse and free living human population has been an uncontrolled experiment. This makes it difficult to prove in the absolute scientific sense that dental amalgam directly causes human health conditions beyond contact allergy and oral lichen planus. [23] [24] This situation will change over time as genetic markers are identified for predisposition to autoimmune diseases such as MS [25], ALS [26], Lupus [27], and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers [28] -- allowing meaningful mercury amalgam case-control studies to be conducted in these susceptible sub-populations of humans. New diagnostic tests characterizing human immune cells are already showing a strong correlation between immune activation against dental mercury and chronic fatigue syndromes.[29] Young athletes that die suddenly from Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy have been shown to have 22,000 times as much mercury in their heart tissues as do patients with other cardiac conditions. [30] Meanwhile there is an ever growing number of case reports from people experiencing spontaneous remissions from a wide range of idiopathic maladies -- primarily by having mercury amalgam dental fillings safely removed from their teeth. These experiences led to the formation of consumers' groups such as "Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome" (DAMS). [31] These case reports, combined with the current scientific evidence, suggest that there is a grievous problem with mercury-amalgam dental fillings. The Hippocratic Oath binds all dentists to the principle of "first do no harm". But dentistry using mercury amalgam has never lived up to this pledge. The ADA cannot now reverse its position on safety without admitting fault and incurring enormous financial liability. Dentistry's self-serving negligence and dishonesty in using mercury amalgam "silver" fillings has placed every adult who has had fillings, as well as our children, at risk. The United States needs to pass laws to ban mercury dental fillings as soon as possible. Until that legislation is signed, the public must have the right to know about the mercury before it is placed into their teeth, to choose non-mercury fillings, and to pay the same out of pocket fee for non-mercury fillings as they would for a mercury amalgam filling. References
Hardy James E, D.M.D.; Dentistry: Stepping Out of the 1830'S

ADA Statement on Dental Amalgam

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Xu C, et al., "Linkage analysis in multiple sclerosis of chromosomal regions syntenic to experimental autoimmune disease loci", Eur J Hum Genet, 9(6):458-63, (Jun 2001)

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Graham RR, et al., "Genetic linkage and transmission disequilibrium of marker haplotypes at chromosome 1q41 in human systemic lupus erythematosus", Arthritis Res, 3(5):299-305, 2001

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MELISA Medica Foundation

Frustaci A, et al., "Marked elevation of myocardial trace elements in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy compared with secondary cardiac dysfunction", J Am Coll Cardiol, 33(6):1578-83, (May 1999)

Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome (DAMS)