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hammo1j
2005-Sep-25, 04:06 PM
Mercury is a highly toxic metal, but our fillings contain 50% Mercury. Is new research justified in showing they are a health risk?

To quote from this article which seems to be a well balanced investigation into the literature by a layman.

http://www.algonet.se/~leif/AmFAQigr.html



we know that:

- dental amalgam fillings consist of 50% mercury
- mercury leaks from the fillings
- mercury is highly toxic and
- low grade chronic mercury intoxication can give rise to symptoms as; anxiety, irritability, fatigue, outbursts of temper, stress intolerance, decreased simultaneous capacity, loss of self-confidence, indecision, headache, depression, metallic taste etc...
we do not know:
- if the amount of mercury released from dental amalgam is enough to cause illness, even in the most exposed or the most sensitive minority of the amalgam-bearing population.


According to WHO 1991 the primary sources of Hg in the human body are

Fish 3 ug/day and Dental Amalgams 3-17 ug/day although this can be as high as 100 ug/day if gum is chewed or if that person grinds his teeth.

This is about 1/5-1/200 of the dose (100-600 ug Hg / day) where, sub-clinical to clinical, health effects, on a group level, have been reported in persons occupationally exposed to inorganic mercury.

However the US recommendation of a safe limit of mercury is 10 ug Hg/day which is exceeded by those with dental amalgams.

The ADA and BDA both repute this:

http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/positions/statements/amalgam.asp

(This bit seems a bit weird in that I was taught that there is no chemical reaction when metals are alloyed:
"chemically binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance")

Transcript of BBC documentary from 1994 shows work of other researchers.

http://www.fluoridealert.org/bbc-mercury.htm

Mercury was first used in fillings about 150 yr ago as a cheap alternative to Gold. There were grave misgivings from dentists at the time that such a toxic substance was being introduced to the human body, but over time the view changed to that the amalgam bound the mercury so that there would be no significant release of mercury.


Again this is a subject that has been hijacked to some extent by the alternative health loonies, but it does seem that the dental establishment's view that it is 100% safe does not bear scrutiny.

I am particularly please we now have a general science forum and I would be interested to hear other BAUTs views.

hammo1j
2005-Sep-25, 05:34 PM
Here's another interesting article:

It makes the argument that the onus is on the dental establishment to prove that amalgam fillings are safe as it would be for a new drug or procedure coming into medical use, rather than for the opponents to prove it is not safe.

http://www.iaomt.org//documents/The%20Scientific%20Case%20Against%20Amalgam.pdf

novaderrik
2005-Sep-25, 07:11 PM
i MUST be safe, otherwise the nice drug companies wouldn't make the stuff.
they are, after all, only interested in what's best for the public..

right??

beskeptical
2005-Sep-25, 08:16 PM
The guy who is pushing the mercury hazards of amalgams uses poor science and his background as a chemistry professor to support his claims.

There is no evidence of significance that anyone has suffered from mercury tooth fillings. There are only hypotheses, none of which have been supported by subsequent research.

Jens
2005-Sep-26, 09:41 AM
I'm sort of curious, though, isn't there any better alternative? I'm aware that gold is quite expensive, but isn't there anything other than mercury that they could use? Maybe depleted uranium, for example. :-)

Van Rijn
2005-Sep-26, 10:18 AM
I'm sort of curious, though, isn't there any better alternative? I'm aware that gold is quite expensive, but isn't there anything other than mercury that they could use? Maybe depleted uranium, for example. :-)

I'll go for that! Seriously, my dentist generally uses plastic resin for replacement fillings and the occasional new filling. Apparently, it has been much improved and can be used in most cases. It looks more natural as well. A note on gold: It is a heavy metal too, like mercury ... and uranium.

Yes, I have a good number of amalgam fillings, but I've never noticed any irritability ...

HEY. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? :mad:


;)

BlackStar
2005-Sep-26, 10:32 AM
One symptom of mercury poisoning:

Your EYES change colour!!!

http://www.pp.okstate.edu/ehs/training/mercury.htm

Seriously, I wouldn't worry about fillings... What we eat has already deposited a big globule of quicksilver in all our guts!

hammo1j
2005-Sep-27, 06:04 AM
Let's just assume that Mercury Amalgam had not been invented in the 1850s, but had been 'discovered' recently: 'a semi liquid paste easily works that hardens to form a surface of excellent durability'.

Now I don't know if dental practices follow the same rules as the introduction of medical procedures, but the correct procedure to bring the product to market would be to test it on animals and then carry out a carefully monitored clinical trial that monitored the long term effect of the treatment on biologically observed humans A careful record of side effects should be made.

In the event the actual trial carried out was: give it to patients. Did they drop dead? Did they complain of side effects in large numbers to deny the cost benefits of amalgam. Certainly this affordable substance must have seemed a miracle to patients with dental problems at the time.

So what if the product was trialled today: well I refer you to page 3 of this document.

http://www.iaomt.org/documents/The%20Scientific%20Case%20Against%20Amalgam.pdf

Filings with radioactive mercury were fitted to animals and it was independently observed to move to the bodies of the animals in significant concentrations. Because of the high toxicity of mercury, the modern day introduction of amalgam would come to a halt.

Dental Amalgams is a much carried out procedure that is not safe by the standards of today. It has not been properly 'Clinically Tested' and if it was it would fail at the animal testing stage.

Retrospective clinical testing by an independent body sponsored by the ADA is the only way to scientifically repudiate the doubters and I don't think they are prepared to do that because of the risk to their profession.

adiffer
2005-Sep-28, 12:22 AM
Quite a few parents of autistic kids are paying attention to this issue right now.

One concern is that the movement of mercury from the fillings to the nervous system might be small, but combined with other trace sources it might be enough to be dangerous for a segment of our population at its most vulnerable. Early brain formation years are getting the attention right now.

Enzp
2005-Sep-28, 02:16 AM
Of course they do not just pour Hg into holes in your teeth. The stuff is in a compound with other things.

Chlorine is deadly poison, and sodium would kill you, and yet common table salt is 50% of each.

Jens
2005-Sep-28, 05:52 AM
Of course they do not just pour Hg into holes in your teeth. The stuff is in a compound with other things.

Chlorine is deadly poison, and sodium would kill you, and yet common table salt is 50% of each.

I may be wrong here, but I don't think an alloy and a molecular compound are the same thing. I don't think that sale "leaks" chlorine or sodium. Does it?

Besides that, are chlorine and sodium really that toxic? I know that are cells have things called "sodium channels," so I assume that we have sodium ions moving around in our bodies.

sarongsong
2005-Sep-28, 08:07 AM
...A note on gold: It is a heavy metal too, like mercury ... and uranium..."...There are 35 metals that concern us because of occupational or residential exposure; 23 of these are the heavy elements or "heavy metals": antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, cerium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, platinum, silver, tellurium, thallium, tin, uranium, vanadium, and zinc (Glanze 1996). Interestingly, small amounts of these elements are common in our environment and diet and are actually necessary for good health, but large amounts of any of them may cause acute or chronic toxicity (poisoning)..."
http://www.lef.org/protocols/prtcl-156.shtml#comm
It would seem enough people have had their mercury-containing fillings removed by now that a study would conclude any significant results.

Fram
2005-Sep-28, 08:30 AM
As anecdotical evidence, I can say that my father in law had health problems (rheumatism like) for which no cause was found, until a doctor suggested it could be caused by his mercury fillings (he had quite a few). They have all been replaced by non-metal fillings, and the problems disappeared in the next months.
As I said, anecdotical, and could well have been coincidence or placebo (or perhaps something else with one tooth that got fixed at the same time or so), but I thought I'ld mention it anyway.

snarkophilus
2005-Sep-28, 09:25 AM
I may be wrong here, but I don't think an alloy and a molecular compound are the same thing. I don't think that sale "leaks" chlorine or sodium. Does it?

Besides that, are chlorine and sodium really that toxic? I know that are cells have things called "sodium channels," so I assume that we have sodium ions moving around in our bodies.

Well, the statement was a little misleading. Salt is sodium chloride, which is an entirely different beast than separate sodium and chlorine. Elemental sodium catches fire/explodes when it contacts water, and elemental chlorine killed thousands of people in the first world war. It is because electron transfer is an energetic process. The elemental forms are not very stable, and gain/lose electrons readily. Table salt has the same elements, to be sure, but in extremely stable electron configurations.

Yes, you need sodium in your body (sodium channels are involved in nerve impulse transmission, if I remember correctly). And yes, you need chlorine (chloride, really). But eating a brick of sodium and washing it down with some chlorine gas is a completely different matter than eating salt.

Actually, when you eat salt, a little (very little!) bit of chlorine does form (in theory), just from random chemical randomness... but it's way too little to actually cause harm, or probably even detect.


That kind of argument is what water fluoridation opponents like to bring up.... You just can't convince some people that fluoride is not fluorine. And I suspect that even if mercury fillings are found to be completely safe, you'll never convince everyone that they are. That is just the way things are. Some people are just alarmist, and armed with facts that are not really facts, they tend to be vocal... and there are enough people that someone always listens.

Gillianren
2005-Sep-28, 08:43 PM
"...There are 35 metals that concern us because of occupational or residential exposure; 23 of these are the heavy elements or "heavy metals": antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, cerium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, platinum, silver, tellurium, thallium, tin, uranium, vanadium, and zinc (Glanze 1996). Interestingly, small amounts of these elements are common in our environment and diet and are actually necessary for good health, but large amounts of any of them may cause acute or chronic toxicity (poisoning)..."
http://www.lef.org/protocols/prtcl-156.shtml#comm
It would seem enough people have had their mercury-containing fillings removed by now that a study would conclude any significant results.

so you're agreeing that these are legitimate health concerns? I want to be very, very clear on this before I ask the next obvious question. (can you play this game at home, guessing what the next obvious question is?)

The Saint
2005-Sep-28, 09:00 PM
White fillings may be just as chemically hazardous. Just the pain and aerosolized metal in drilling out the amalgam filling is a hazard ie iatrogenic (dentist-doctor induce) suffering. Often, the best thing is to leave the filling in place, especially in molars.

Oral galvanism (between different metals in the mouth) is claimed to a hazard. If you have a galvanometer with 2 probes, it's interesting to place them on different crowns, bridges and fillings in a mouth, and see the different voltages (0-100 mV) between them. If they don't discharge, it may be worth changing them, according to some researchers.

Jens
2005-Sep-29, 01:49 AM
This is also totally anecdotal, so take it with a grain of sodium chloride (not the elemental form!)

I got most of my amalgam fillings replaced with gold ones, not because of alarmism but because they were decaying and my dentist said that gold would last longer and feels more like real teeth. Plus, he makes a better profit, of course.

And coincidentally or not, I was having sort of non-specific health troubles (basically what is called CFS or sometimes fibromyalgia, meaning that you feel bad but doctors don't have any idea if there's anything really wrong, so it might be basically stress-related disorder, who knows), and in the couple of years since those fillings (actually crowns in some cases) were replaced, the problems have pretty much gone away, or at least gotten much better. The trouble is, there are other factors as well -- during the same period, I gave up soda drinks and lost some weight -- so I'm not at all claiming it's the cause, just thinking it's one possibility among a bunch of factors.

sarongsong
2005-Sep-29, 03:05 AM
...the next obvious question...Ha-ha, Gillian---Stevie Wonder could see it coming---how about my asking first if your body is an electrical device and what is the greatest conductor of electricity you know of?
All I can say is (w/o hi-jacking this thread), personal experience, that of others, and the acceptance of any risk. (Oh, and I personally know a jeweler who does like-wise.) I no longer have any amalgam fillings. How Mercury Causes Brain Neuron Degeneration (http://commons.ucalgary.ca/mercury/) (Quicktime video)

adiffer
2005-Sep-30, 03:35 AM
Giving up sodas and loosing some weight makes it sound like you decided to take your health seriously. That usually does wonders for people, so whether the fillings were involved or not, my hat is off to you. 8)

Enzp
2005-Sep-30, 05:54 AM
I work daily with lead, and I will be asking for a metal screening at my next regular doctor visit next week. If one is concerned over mercury, would it not be prudent to have a blood test to look for it?

sarongsong
2005-Sep-30, 06:08 AM
Have heard that a hair-analysis may be required to measure metals in the body---do keep us informed of what the doc says/recommends.

hammo1j
2005-Sep-30, 07:19 PM
Unusually, with Dental Amalgam the conventionally held wisdom does not stand up to the evidence and the ATM viewpoint wins.

Dental organisations are grudgingly admitting this:



However, the Foundation considers that, if amalgam were to be presented as a new material today, it would not be approved by any food and drug administration, on the precautionary principle.


http://www.dentalhealth.org.uk/downloads/f030711103426_amalgam_policy_statement.pdf

I think we have to consider whether the ADA can adopt any other stance other than that Dental Amalgams are safe. If they said otherwise there would be mass panic and they would be inundated with law suits or at the very least an obligation to replace mercury fillings with something safer.

This is not a conspiracy of evil it is just human nature, but really you should look upon ADA evidence with the same degree of suspicion as research into the health effects of smoking that is funded by the Tobacco industry.

On the evidence I have decided to have my fillings replaced. I will keep you posted honestly about what happens.

beskeptical
2005-Oct-01, 08:54 PM
Quite a few parents of autistic kids are paying attention to this issue right now.

One concern is that the movement of mercury from the fillings to the nervous system might be small, but combined with other trace sources it might be enough to be dangerous for a segment of our population at its most vulnerable. Early brain formation years are getting the attention right now.One gets a lot more mercury from tuna than fillings. If there were a connection we'd see autism in the children of tuna eaters.

The problem with these parents of autistic kids looking at vaccines and tooth fillings as the cause of their children's problems is the parents are unwilling to follow the evidence. They instead look for the evidence to follow their preconceived beliefs. Not only do they do immediate harm such as avoiding very important childhood vaccinations, they also miss the chance to find the real causes of the very well documented increase in autism cases.

Mercury in fillings and vaccines have been thoroughly ruled out as being related to autism.

There is nothing wrong with using better material for fillings today. Personally, I prefer something tooth colored over the old mercury ones. The problem is some folks have been convinced to go in and have all their old fillings removed and replaced without any real evidence that such a procedure was necessary.

There is some risk in removing old fillings from allergic reaction to the anesthetic to tooth loss and infection. These risks are small and if mercury fillings are causing a person anxiety perhaps the risk and cost of replacing them is warranted. But to do so out of fear that is unwarranted since there is no evidence mercury fillings cause harm, then one is taking an unnecessary though albeit small risk by replacing the fillings. And one is wasting a lot of money that could be spent on something else that perhaps would really improve one's health.

beskeptical
2005-Oct-01, 08:55 PM
Of course they do not just pour Hg into holes in your teeth. The stuff is in a compound with other things.

Chlorine is deadly poison, and sodium would kill you, and yet common table salt is 50% of each.
And all the cells in our bodies need sodium and chloride to function.

beskeptical
2005-Oct-01, 09:10 PM
Anecdotal evidence is only useful to form hypotheses from which to then discover whether or not what one thinks one observed really occurred.

There have been many studies on the potential hazard of mercury amalgams in dental fillings. NONE of the studies have produced any evidence of actual harm.

All sorts of things sound like they could be harmful and all sorts of folks are convinced that this or that caused this aliment or that ailment and believe their health improved with this or that treatment or action. But it is real science that has extended our lifespans by tens of years. It is real science that has cured deadly infections and cancers. It is real science that has helped folks with chronic diseases live better lives.

We have discovered things cause cancers and chronic diseases. Medicine has been wrong on many an occasion. When there is a possible link to diseases like mercury in fillings and vaccine preservatives, the research is very important and no one is suggesting all of these ideas are wacko. But in this case research has failed to support the hypothesis that mercury in fillings or vaccines has actually harmed anyone. Until such research does uncover the hypothesized harm, then jumping on the latest conspiracy health belief train does more harm than good.

sarongsong
2005-Oct-02, 12:17 AM
Wasn't it 'anecdotal evidence' that got Vioxx shut down?

adiffer
2005-Oct-02, 03:09 AM
I am a parent of an autistic child, so I've seen some of the ranting and raving about mercury. I'm inclined to agree on the idea that amalgam fillings aren't related because the evidence suggests few babies and toddlers get those fillings and the leak rates are really slow. I'd be a tad more concerned about the impact they have on the elderly due to the very long exposure rates, but I know such studies can be swamped by environmental uncertainties.

I'm also trained as a physicist, so I understand how the parents with strong emotional needs are warping the science environment. It doesn't matter in the end, though. If you have a child who is autistic, you know you don't have time for Science to work it out. Brain development must occur rapidly while the child is young for them to keep up, so the parents are motivated to grasp at any straw available.

From what I've read, the jury is still out on mercury as a cause for autism. The vaccinations might not be enough, but the overall exposure we face might be enough to put the vaccination addition over the top for a segment of the population that is a little more sensitive to heavy metal poisoning than the average. Toxins cause a variety of impacts and different people have different tolerances, so mercury exposure in large vaccinations might be enough to show up in the wings of the gaussian. I'm not yet convinced that the studies that have been done would see that, but I won't jump up and down and rant about it either.

On a personal level, I'd prefer to avoid all heavy metals in ionized form and most of them in metal forms too. Obviously we need some of them in trace amounts, though, so I try not to be a hypochondriac about it. 8)

hammo1j
2005-Oct-02, 11:02 AM
One gets a lot more mercury from tuna than fillings. If there were a connection we'd see autism in the children of tuna eaters.


That point is simply not true since the World Health Organization has stated that intake from seafood is 3ug per day whereas fillings account for 3-17ug per day.

As for a "latest conspiracy health belief" it is up to the ADA etc to prove amalgam is safe not the other way round. All they have to do is repeat the animal testing and show that there is no significant uptake of mercury into the tissues of the animal. But they won't because they know the answer is likely to embarrass them.

On the question of autism there is evidence from animal testing in the link in the second post on this thread, that Mercury crosses the placental boundary. We know that the effects of toxins is levered in the developmental stages. We don't have evidence that it is cause, but it should be ruled out by trying to eliminate mercury from our systems.

I am not suggesting that amalgam mercury causes diseases but that it is a toxin that should be eliminated from human biology because it is a known potent toxin that might be a cause.

To give an idea of how toxic it is now considered whereas in the past the toxicity was neglected my brother told me this story.

Then:

He remembers his junior physics teacher pouring mercury onto the desk and the students playing around with it. Remember the air pressure supports 760mm of mercury demonstration with the open vat of mercury vapourising into the classroom.

Now:

A friend of his wife broke a mercury thermometer in her kitchen. Knowing the toxicity she rang the council for advice who said she must call the fire brigade. They sealed off the kitchen and would only allow re-admittance once a specialised cleaning company had disposed of the waste at a cost of 9000 roughly $15,000!

adiffer:

On the question of different tolerances, the figures in my first post show that there is a factor of 6 in the levels at which people experience extreme symptoms of mercury poisoning.

beskeptical
2005-Oct-02, 06:47 PM
Wasn't it 'anecdotal evidence' that got Vioxx shut down?Sarongsong, you don't ignore anecdotal evidence. You use it to develop hypotheses which you then test. Without the second step, all you have with anecdotal evidence is speculation or an idea.

Anecdotal evidence is collected without any sort of control for other factors that may be influencing the outcome. Unless you look at other possibilities, what do you have? You have a possible association. You don't even have a confirmed association let alone evidence of cause and effect.

beskeptical
2005-Oct-02, 07:16 PM
.....
From what I've read, the jury is still out on mercury as a cause for autism. The vaccinations might not be enough, but the overall exposure we face might be enough to put the vaccination addition over the top for a segment of the population that is a little more sensitive to heavy metal poisoning than the average. ....Subsequent research that didn't support the original French study showing a relationship between MMR vaccines and autism. In addition, separate studies were done that found autism was being recognized at the age children became more communicative, however, it was present much earlier. In other words autism was most likely present but undiagnosed before the implicated MMR vaccine was given to the children in the original French study.

Studies of parents' videos of their children's 1st birthday parties were done that enabled researchers to identify autistic behavior that was already present. The research was blinded. The observers did not know which children in the videos had since been diagnosed as autistic. Yet the researchers were able to identify behaviors of the autistic children that differed from non-autistic children. The majority of research implicates autism as either genetic or stemming from an insult in utero, not something that children acquire after birth. Though I do not claim conclusive evidence of that hypothesis is available.

The original French study showing an association between MMRs and autism has been overwhelmed with contradictory research. Yet from that study, the whole campaign and further claim that maybe it was other vaccines or the mercury preservatives in vaccines that was the culprit began. In other words the subsequent claims that mercury or vaccines have anything to do with autism was never based on even anecdotal evidence. It began from speculation after discredited research conclusions about MMRs and autism.

It is only an hypothesis. It isn't an unreasonable hypothesis that environmental mercury has effects on a fetus or newborn. However there have not been any studies with sufficient evidence to warrant fear of vaccinating your children or removing your old fillings.

There is research that doesn't support the hypothesis and no research that does support the hypothesis. Yet there is a large community of parents of autistic children that are not only pushing their political agenda to 'prove' the relationship, there is a subset of them out to convince other parents not to vaccinate their children for diseases that we know not only cause death, but can also cause permanent disability. Measles kills 1 in every 1,000 infections and causes permanent brain damage in an additional 1 per 1,000 cases.

I agree with the rest of what you posted.

beskeptical
2005-Oct-02, 08:36 PM
That point is simply not true since the World Health Organization has stated that intake from seafood is 3ug per day whereas fillings account for 3-17ug per day.

I'm not sure just which WHO source you are using here but you are presenting distorted facts.

http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241530502.pdf
WHO Paper on Mercury


6.2.2 Elemental mercury in dental amalgam fillings
For more than a century and a half, silver/mercury amalgam fillings have been used in dental practice as the preferred tooth filling material. Such amalgams contain approximately 50% elemental mercury. Human studies and experiments in laboratory animals indicate that dental amalgam contributes significantly to mercury body burden in humans who have amalgam fillings (IPCS, 1991; US DHHS, 1993; Weiner & Nylander, 1995; Health Canada, 1997). Levels of mercury release for various dental procedures have been reported by Eley (1997).

Mercury released from amalgam fillings can take several forms: elemental mercury vapour, metallic ions, and/or fine particles (IPCS, 1991). Of the mercury vapour, some is exhaled, some is inhaled into the lungs and absorbed into the blood, some is retained in the vapour form in the saliva and swallowed together with amalgam particles, and some is oxidized to an ionic form and spit from the mouth or swallowed. Of that portion swallowed, only a small fraction would be expected to be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract.

Barregard et al. (1995) investigated the relationship between amalgam fillings and mercury uptake and found that mercury uptake from dental amalgams is low. However, there is considerable variation between individuals, due primarily to gum chewing habits and bruxism, a rhythmic or spasmodic grinding of the teeth other than chewing and typically occurring during sleep.

Bjorkman et al. (1997) examined the mercury concentrations in saliva after removal of dental amalgam fillings in 10 human subjects. In saliva, there was an exponential decline in the mercury concentration during the first 2 weeks after amalgam removal (half-life of 1.8 days). Of 108 patients (all with amalgam dental fillings) presenting to an environmental toxicology service, the average salivary mercury level was 11 μg/litre (range <119 μg/litre) before chewing and 38 μg/litre (range 6500 μg/litre) after chewing. Six of the 108 patients had salivary mercury concentrations above 100 μg/litre. Nonetheless, the gastrointestinal uptake of mercury seen in conjunction with removal of amalgam fillings appears to be low.

Higher levels of mercury exposure can occur in individuals who chew gum or show bruxism (Barregard et al., 1995; Enestrom & Hultman, 1995). Richardson (1995) reported a transient 5.3-fold increase in levels of mercury upon stimulation by chewing, eating, or tooth brushing. Sallsten et al. (1996) also reported over a 5-fold increase in plasma and urinary mercury levels (27 and 6.5 nmol/mmol creatinine versus 4.9 and 1.2 nmol/ mmol creatinine, respectively) in a sample of 18 people who regularly chewed nicotine chewing gum (median values of 10 sticks per day for 27 months), compared with a control group. Higher-level short-term exposure has also been demonstrated in conjunction with restorative work on amalgam fillings (Taskinen et al., 1989).

Berdouses et al. (1995) studied mercury release from dental amalgams using an artificial mouth under controlled conditions of brushing and chewing and
found that although the release of mercury during initial non-steady-state conditions was influenced by both the age of the amalgam and the amalgam type, the steadystate value of the mercury dose released by the amalgam was only 0.03 μg/day. The contribution of dental amalgam fillings to daily intake of mercury has been estimated in a number of reports. Values generally in the range of 15 μg/day were estimated in the US population, although Sandborgh-Englund et al. (1998) estimated the daily dose of mercury from amalgam fillings to be from 5 to 9 μg/day in subjects with an average number of amalgams.

Skare & Engqvist (1994) estimated the systemic uptake of mercury from amalgam in Swedish middleaged individuals with a moderate amalgam load (30 surfaces) to be, on the average, 12 μg/day.

Halbach (1994) examined the data from 14 independent studies and concluded that the probable mercury dose from amalgam is less than 10 μg/day. When combined with the 2.6 μg/day background intake estimated by WHO (IPCS, 1990) for persons without amalgam fillings, the total daily intake from dental amalgam fillings and environmental sources is less than 12.6 μg.

Richardson et al. (1995) estimated total mercury exposure for Canadian populations of different ages to be 3.3 μg/day in toddlers (34 years old), 5.6 μg/day in children (511 years old), 6.7 μg/day in teens (1219 years old), 9.4 μg/day in adults (2059 years old), and 6.8 μg/day in seniors (aged 60+ years). Of this exposure, amalgam was estimated to contribute 50% to the total mercury in adults and 3242% for other age groups. Estimates based on two independent models of exposure from amalgam alone were 1.11.7 μg/day in children, 1.92.5 μg/day in teens, 3.43.7 μg/day in adults, and 2.12.8 μg/day in seniors (Richardson, 1995).

My purpose in posting this section of the cited paper is to show that mercury exposure is a very complex issue. There are different forms of mercury. There are different studies with different results. For hammo1j to make some oversimplified statement about the risk from amalgam vs fish is misleading to say the least.

Clearly mercury is released from dental amalgam. But what does it mean? This is where speculation takes off and science is distorted, selectively used, or not used at all.

This site, http://www.amalgam.org/ , is tops on a google search so must get a lot of hits. It makes a lot of claims about dental fillings and their hazards and cites a lot of research.

I took one citation at random to evaluate.

http://aac.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/37/4/825?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&titleabstract=dental+and+mercury&searchid=1128278028051_875&stored_search=&FIRSTINDEX=0&fdate=1/1/1993&tdate=12/31/1993&search_url=http%3A%2F%2Faac.asm.org%2Fcgi%2Fsearch&journalcode=aac

Mercury released from dental "silver" fillings provokes an increase in mercury- and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in oral and intestinal floras of primates

AO Summers, J Wireman, MJ Vimy, FL Lorscheider, B Marshall, SB Levy, S Bennett and L Billard
Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.

In a survey of 640 human subjects, a subgroup of 356 persons without recent exposure to antibiotics demonstrated that those with a high prevalence of Hg resistance in their intestinal floras were significantly more likely to also have resistance to two or more antibiotics. This observation led us to consider the possibility that mercury released from amalgam ("silver") dental restorations might be a selective agent for both mercury- and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the oral and intestinal floras of primates. Resistances to mercury and to several antibiotics were examined in the oral and intestinal floras of six adult monkeys prior to the installation of amalgam fillings, during the time they were in place, and after replacement of the amalgam fillings with glass ionomer fillings (in four of the monkeys). The monkeys were fed an antibiotic-free diet, and fecal mercury concentrations were monitored. There was a statistically significant increase in the incidence of mercury-resistant bacteria during the 5 weeks following installation of the amalgam fillings and during the 5 weeks immediately following their replacement with glass ionomer fillings. These peaks in incidence of mercury-resistant bacteria correlated with peaks of Hg elimination (as high as 1 mM in the feces) immediately following amalgam placement and immediately after replacement of the amalgam fillings. Representative mercury-resistant isolates of three selected bacterial families (oral streptococci, members of the family Enterobacteriaceae, and enterococci) were also resistant to one or more antibiotics, including ampicillin, tetracycline, streptomycin, kanamycin, and chloramphenicol. While such mercury- and antibiotic-resistant isolates among the staphylococci, the enterococci, and members of the family Enterobacteriaceae have been described, this is the first report of mercury resistance in the oral streptococci. Many of the enterobacterial strains were able to transfer mercury and antibiotic resistances together to laboratory bacterial recipients, suggesting that the loci for these resistances are genetically linked. Our findings indicate that mercury released from amalgam fillings can cause an enrichment of mercury resistance plasmids in the normal bacterial floras of primates. Many of these plasmids also carry antibiotic resistance, implicating the exposure to mercury from dental amalgams in an increased incidence of multiple antibiotic resistance plasmids in the normal floras of nonmedicated subjects. It is an interesting finding. But is the result significant? Do mercury amalgams contribute to antibiotic resistance in any significant way? No. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is overwhelmingly coming from normal use, overuse and misuse of antibiotics to treat infections and from the massive amount of antibiotics used in livestock. So the research is interesting but the implications are minimal.

The outcome that needs to be measured can't just be are the toxins there. The outcome that matters is do people with mercury amalgams in their dental fillings have such a risk that removal of the fillings is warranted? It would seem a lot easier to give up tuna than to have one's filling replaced.

And if we have cancers and autism and other disorders, shouldn't we limit exposures to known toxins? Of course. But there are two sides here. The fillings are already in people's mouths. Thimerisol (mercury preservative in vaccines), makes vaccines available in less expensive multidose vials.

We need to limit these toxins but one has to use evidence to make the decisions on how and when to limit them. Thimerisol has been removed from children's vaccines and those vaccines are now in single dose vials with the exception of influenza vaccine which has both forms still available. (There never was thimerisol in the implicated MMRs by the way.) I am not aware the rates of autism have fallen since the change in vaccine formulation. The rates of disease have increased in unvaccinated kids, however.


As for a "latest conspiracy health belief" it is up to the ADA etc to prove amalgam is safe not the other way round. All they have to do is repeat the animal testing and show that there is no significant uptake of mercury into the tissues of the animal. But they won't because they know the answer is likely to embarrass them. Who is this "they"? The FDA, the American Dental Association, the amalgam industry?

From the page out of the WHO document above, it looks like animal studies have indeed been done. It looks like there is some uptake of mercury in one's tissues. But that is only part of the equation. The important part is, does it matter and does the risk outweigh the benefit?

http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/amalgams.html
Consumer Update: Dental Amalgams


Also, USPHS scientists analyzed approximately 175 peer-reviewed studies submitted in support of three citizen petitions received by FDA after the 1993 report. The USPHS concluded that data in these studies did not support claims that individuals with dental amalgam restorations will experience problems, including neurologic, renal or developmental effects, except for rare allergic or hypersensitivity reactions.emphasis mine

Your claim that "they" won't do the research implies "they" are the only source of research funding. That is absurd even if there were a "they". Research can be funded from autism foundations, Universities, individuals, commercial enterprises, government, non-profit groups and so on. There is research money from all sorts of parties on all sides of these controversies. Right now the only monopoly on news is coming from our corporate controlled media. The scientific community and the internet and other alternative sources of information are not censored.


On the question of autism there is evidence from animal testing in the link in the second post on this thread, that Mercury crosses the placental boundary. We know that the effects of toxins is levered in the developmental stages. We don't have evidence that it is cause, but it should be ruled out by trying to eliminate mercury from our systems.

I am not suggesting that amalgam mercury causes diseases but that it is a toxin that should be eliminated from human biology because it is a known potent toxin that might be a cause. Minimized?, absolutely. Eliminated?, good luck!

It didn't cost an excessive amount to change to single dose vials of childhood vaccines in the USA. But that same cost might mean thousands of doses now unavailable to kids in impoverished countries due to the trade off. Is that a good use of vaccine dollars in those cases? I think not.


To give an idea of how toxic it is now considered whereas in the past the toxicity was neglected my brother told me this story.

Then:

He remembers his junior physics teacher pouring mercury onto the desk and the students playing around with it. Remember the air pressure supports 760mm of mercury demonstration with the open vat of mercury vapourising into the classroom.

Now:

A friend of his wife broke a mercury thermometer in her kitchen. Knowing the toxicity she rang the council for advice who said she must call the fire brigade. They sealed off the kitchen and would only allow re-admittance once a specialised cleaning company had disposed of the waste at a cost of 9000 roughly $15,000!And you think the dental industry is ripping folks off by not wanting to admit their fillings are harmful? Seems to me that the harm done of $15,000 cost to a family that probably couldn't afford it was excessive given the risk of the mercury and the benefit of the extreme cleanup measures. I'd think a less expensive cleanup with the risk of minor contamination would have been preferable. After all, did the folks in the first story die or suffer mercury poisoning as a result of their experience?

And how much safer can $15,000 make you if spent on something else?

adiffer
2005-Oct-03, 10:38 AM
I've seen the parental groups advocating against immunization to avoid autism. I think they go beyond silly and into dangerous reactionism. I've also seen the evidence that autism is an early event and not a later one. I was in full denial up to about age 4 for my son and partial denial to age 5. In hindsight, though, the symptoms were pretty obvious once he was supposed to start communicating vocally and didn't. I don't fault any immunizations later in his life, but I do still consider mercury as a suspect. I pay far more attention to environmental mercury and sources where the parents might have had a long term exposure before conception. I'd like to see studies done in that direction and I'm doing the best I can to look them up and read about them.

The most recent anecdotal evidence that has our attention is the rate of incidence among the Amish in Pennsylvania. They do a number of different things that would alter their exposure to toxins we face. From what I've heard, their incidence rate is low, so it should be worth a look by someone with no bias.

beskeptical
2005-Oct-05, 07:06 AM
I've seen the parental groups advocating against immunization to avoid autism. I think they go beyond silly and into dangerous reactionism. I've also seen the evidence that autism is an early event and not a later one. I was in full denial up to about age 4 for my son and partial denial to age 5. In hindsight, though, the symptoms were pretty obvious once he was supposed to start communicating vocally and didn't. I don't fault any immunizations later in his life, but I do still consider mercury as a suspect. I pay far more attention to environmental mercury and sources where the parents might have had a long term exposure before conception. I'd like to see studies done in that direction and I'm doing the best I can to look them up and read about them.

The most recent anecdotal evidence that has our attention is the rate of incidence among the Amish in Pennsylvania. They do a number of different things that would alter their exposure to toxins we face. From what I've heard, their incidence rate is low, so it should be worth a look by someone with no bias.
It is reasonable to look at all possibilities for the causes of autism including mercury. We really don't have the answers. But we don't want tunnel vision. Mercury is not showing many connections. Maybe it's time to start looking elsewhere.

Infectious disease should not be ruled out, for example. Ulcers, maybe cardiac disease and a lot of other ailments are being tied to infectious diseases that were not thought to be related in the past.

Bottom line is to not just buy into the latest toxic culprit ahead of the evidence. And, to recognize how to interpret evidence so one is not mislead by those that draw conclusions from evidence that doesn't support the conclusion. It is a common mistake.

neilzero
2008-Feb-04, 04:09 PM
In spite of numerous claims of negligible health risk, I see some evidence that there is a significant risk. Some studies show the mercury ions are more likely to escape the fillings because copper was added to the silver amalgum. Other studies indicate that as much as 1% of the mercury is not bound to the silver and is thus free to migrate to other parts of your body. Free mercury is more of a problem, when the dentist gets in a hurry and mixes insuficiently. Most dentists rarely instal amalgum fillings any more, and use dams to reduce the probability of ingesting amalgum when they need to remove old fillings. Clearly the mecury releases mercury vapor into the air before it is mixed with the silver (and sometimes a bit of copper). This mercury vapor is a hazard to the dentist and his assistants who breath the office air perhaps 50 hours per week.
When I was child, long ago, my dentist enjoyed puting a drop of mercury in a child's hand. They don't call it quick silver without reason. There may have been a pound of mercury between the cracks in the dentists floor by the time they demolished the building. The dentist was about 60 when he died; death possibly not related to mercury. Neil.

Ronald Brak
2008-Feb-04, 05:08 PM
If I squashed all my fillings into a lump it would be less than a cubic centimeter. I can drink a cubic centimeter of elemental mercury without noticable effects. (Although I should avoid using trampolines until it's passed.)

I have just realized there are people in the world who might misunderstand this. DRINKING ELEMENTAL MERCURY IS BAD FOR YOU! It's just not as bad as some people think. People who are exposed to considerable amounts, such as some of those in the developing world who use elemental mercury in gold extraction, yeah, sometimes they 'aint too healthy.

Swift
2008-Feb-04, 06:16 PM
In spite of numerous claims of negligible health risk, I see some evidence that there is a significant risk. Some studies show the mercury ions are more likely to escape the fillings because copper was added to the silver amalgum. Other studies indicate that as much as 1% of the mercury is not bound to the silver and is thus free to migrate to other parts of your body.
I'm just curious, but can you reference any of these studies? I'm particularly interested in the copper one.


Most dentists rarely instal amalgum fillings any more
I don't think amalgum is used anymore in the US. I recently had a few old amalgum filings replaced (one had fallen out and my dentist suggested get rid of the others at the same time). The choices were resin (I think it is a type of UV epoxy) or gold or ceramic.

01101001
2008-Feb-04, 07:03 PM
I don't think amalgum is used anymore in the US.

American Dental Association Dental Fillings Facts (http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/topics/materials/dental_fillings_facts_full.pdf) (PDF)


Dental amalgam
is a mix of approximately 43 percent to 54 percent
mercury with other metals, including silver, copper
and tin. [...] Today, amalgam is used
most commonly in the back teeth.
[And lists advantages and disadvantages to its use.]

Gillianren
2008-Feb-04, 08:45 PM
Oh, for having Beskeptical back . . . .

As I've said before, often, I trust the word of health care professionals in a given field over (no offense) some guy on the internet saying, "This seems dangerous to me, so that health care professional who just gave a detailed explanation of why it isn't, particularly, must be wrong."

Kaptain K
2008-Feb-05, 09:11 AM
When my mother was growing up, she had a dentist who was a sadist (her words).

1) His preferred filling material was molten porcelain!
and
2) He didn't use anesthetic!

If you so much as flinched...

The good news - she never lost one of them.

Swift
2008-Feb-05, 02:13 PM
1) His preferred filling material was molten porcelain!
and

I'm truly curious (I work for a company that makes ceramic materials), but exactly what did he use? I am struggling to imagine a truly molten ceramic material that could be poured into a patient's mouth without killing them (most of these types of materials have melting points in excess of 1000C (http://www.a-m.de/englisch/lexikon/schmelzpunkte.htm)).

Kaptain K
2008-Feb-05, 09:09 PM
I'm truly curious (I work for a company that makes ceramic materials), but exactly what did he use? I am struggling to imagine a truly molten ceramic material that could be poured into a patient's mouth without killing them (most of these types of materials have melting points in excess of 1000C (http://www.a-m.de/englisch/lexikon/schmelzpunkte.htm)).

I'm sorry I can't provide more information. The story was told to me waaay back in my youth. It was told as a true, real life horror story and it was emphasized that the dentist did use molten porcelain without anesthetic. The patient dared not move or they would get it all over the inside of their mouth. I don't ask that you believe it. I doubt that I would if it were told to me. But that was the story I was told!

Neverfly
2008-Feb-05, 10:22 PM
I'm sorry I can't provide more information. The story was told to me waaay back in my youth. It was told as a true, real life horror story and it was emphasized that the dentist did use molten porcelain without anesthetic. The patient dared not move or they would get it all over the inside of their mouth. I don't ask that you believe it. I doubt that I would if it were told to me. But that was the story I was told!

Could be something as simple as she thought it was molten porcelain when it was actually something else.

Or maybe her dentist was a real Joker.

Kaptain K
2008-Feb-06, 01:14 AM
Could be something as simple as she thought it was molten porcelain when it was actually something else.

Or maybe her dentist was a real Joker.

Whatever it was, it was hot!
She said she wanted to scream so bad, but didn't dare move!

Van Rijn
2008-Feb-06, 01:37 AM
I can certainly believe it felt hot, though I doubt it was physically as hot as she apparently thinks. There are lots of sensitive nerves in the mouth.

My mother had all of her teeth pulled by the time she was an adult and has always worn full dentures. She didn't have very good teeth, and dental care just didn't match what we have today, nor was her family rich enough to have the best care. They used nitrous oxide a lot back then, but she went through hell too.

publius
2008-Feb-06, 02:24 AM
He may have used something hot, no argument there, but indeed, it wasn't 1000C hot by a long shot. Something that hot would destroy a tooth he was trying to restore, not to mention destroying a lot of surrounding tissue.

One of my high school buddies became a dentist, coming back home and setting up practice, and I go to him. He's been in practice quite a while now, long enough to see a lot of crazy things, and one thing he has seen, more than once, is the result of very hot blobs of molten metal hitting teeth from welding or using cutting torches.

With arc welding, the standard helmets cover your face, but with cutting torches and O/A welding, goggles alone are often used, exposing the mouth. If you're one to grit your teeth and grimace while you're doing "violent" stuff that like, your front teeth are exposed and vulnerable.

Anyway, one character was cutting something and had a little nozzle pop or something and blew a pretty good little red hot blod right into his front teeth.

It stuck and burned a hole nearly all the way through two teeth. The guy was in excruciating pain, and the smell was something else, my dentist said. That was a dental emergency, and he had to get right on that. IIRC, he was able to save the teeth, just barely, but it took root canals and posts and build-up and crowns. And they were going to be weak, and he figured the odds were they would eventually fail.

ETA: I just remembered a really crazy one that dentist loves to tell as the wildest thing that ever happened ..... well, yet. He was in the office, working away, and hears a commotion in the waiting room out front.

Some poor guy had just pulled in, with an emergency, but it wasn't his teeth. In fact, it was the opposite end. He was bleeding profusely from his rectum. He was from out of town and was on a little business trip when that started. He pulled off the highway and headed into town looking frantically looking for a doctor. He saw my dentist's office, probably seeing the "Dr." sign or whatever and pulled in.

Well, my dentist, name of George, took the bull by the horns. He was dentist, not an MD, but he was trained in the basics, much of which he has to know anyway. He had the receptionist call the paramedics, and he did what he could with the affected area, applying first aid stuff, until help arrived. IIRC, the trouble was a prolapsed internal hemorhoid that had ruptured.

He laughs about that, but very seriously says that while he's a dentist, not a doctor, he did take an oath, and when someone in such dire straits comes in, he will do what he can to help, and not harm.

-Richard

Kaptain K
2008-Feb-06, 08:58 AM
As I said, I can't vouch for the story. I heard it in the 60s. It happened to my mother in the 30s and she is no longer here to verify it.