A Phil-for-an-ill Blog

July 19, 2009

Dental Amalgams – Poisonous Teeth

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1. Toxic Mercury – Evidence of a Strong Poison
2. Dental Amalgams – Poisonous Teeth
3. Mercury Detox – Ridding the Body of Mercury

NB: Boldfaced emphasis in the quotes is mine throughout this page…

History of Dental Amalgams

In the beginning there was a time in which the use of dental amalgams was already frowned upon by the designated dental regulatory body of the United States:

For the past two centuries, mercury amalgam use in dentistry has increased in popularity as the preferred tooth filling material.(1,2,3) However, when mercury amalgam was initially introduced into North America in the 1830s, its use was vehemently opposed by the dental licensing authority, the American Society of Dental Surgeons and official policies were adopted to prohibit the use of this material. Their concern was focused upon the safety of placing mercury into humans since many toxic effects of mercury were well known; including dementia and loss of motor coordination. In spite of this official prohibition, several dentists continued to use mercury amalgam and some were subsequently suspended for malpractice. The popularity of this inexpensive, durable and easy to work with material continued to rise amongst dentists and by 1856, there were so many dentists using mercury amalgam that the American Society of Dental Surgeons was disbanded by overwhelming opposition to their policy surrounding amalgam fillings. Following this, in 1859 the American Dental Association was founded on the premise that mercury amalgam was a safe and desirable tooth filling material. Because of the low cost of amalgam, dentistry was now available to the masses for the first time. By 1895, the mercury amalgam mixture of metals was modified and this formula continues to be used to this day, with a typical mixture containing 50% metallic mercury, 35% silver, 9% tin, 6% copper, and a trace of zinc. Mercury amalgam continues to be the material preferred by 92% of dentists for restoring posterior teeth.(4,5) and over one hundred tons of mercury is now used in dentistry in the U.S. each year.Source: karlloren.com

Dental Amalgams – Safe or not?

Besides inoculations, amalgam tooth-fillings pose another mercury contamination source for the body. The key question to ask is:

Is the amount of absorbed mercury through the presence of dental amalgams high enough to adversely affect human health?

Let’s first see what the advocates can bring to the table:

Advocates of Dental Amalgams

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If we were to believe Colgate, then dental amalgams simply pose no health threat at all:

How safe is amalgam?
Millions of people have amalgam fillings. Although concern has been raised over the mercury in amalgam, and the issue has been studied extensively, researchers have not found evidence of significant health problems related to the use of amalgam in fillings.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has evaluated research on the safety of dental amalgam and has not found any reason to limit its use.


The controversy over mercury in amalgam centers on how much mercury is released from fillings and absorbed into the body. In the past, it was thought that amalgam fillings were inert, meaning that no mercury was released once the filling was complete. In recent years, sophisticated tests have shown that very small amounts of mercury in the form of vapor can be released as the amalgam wears.

Research on this issue is complex and has arrived at various estimates of the actual amount of mercury released. However, several reviews of the research have concluded that any amount released from amalgam in the mouth is very low.

“Studies have shown that the amount of mercury you are exposed to from your fillings is less than the amount that most people are exposed to in their daily environment or in the food they eat,” Dr. Albert says. Source: colgate.com

From another condoning source we read:

“Even at the levels of amalgam exposure in this study (a mean of 7.7-10.7 amalgam surfaces per subject across the seven years of follow-up, [we] conclude that exposure to mercury from dental amalgam does not adversely affect neurological status,” the researchers said.

“These data indicate the absence of a generalized negative effect on children’s nervous system functions stemming from the presence of dental amalgam, and while we cannot rule out potential adverse reactions in individual children, we found no indications of any,” they added. Source: topnews.in (2008)

Also the US Army finds amalgams to be all peachy:

I’ve heard that the mercury in dental amalgam can cause some types of disease. Is that true?

There is no scientific evidence that exposure to mercury from dental amalgam restorations poses any serious health risk in humans. The exhaustive study of amalgam by the U.S. Public Health Service in 1993 concluded that there is “no persuasive reason to believe that avoiding amalgams or having them removed will have a beneficial effect on health.” These findings are supported by other reputable organization listed previously in this newsletter. Source: usarak.army.mil

Quackwatch thinks so too:

Mercury is a component of the amalgam used for “silver” fillings. The other major ingredients are silver, tin, copper, and zinc. When mixed, these elements bond to form a strong, stable substance. The difference between bound and unbound chemicals can be illustrated by a simple analogy. Elemental hydrogen is an explosive gas. Elemental oxygen is a gas that supports combustion. When combined, however, they form water, which has neither of these effects. Amalgam’s ingredients are tightly bonded to each other. Although the types of chemical bonds in water and amalgam differ, saying that amalgam will poison you is just as wrong as saying that drinking water will make you explode and burst into flames.

Very sensitive instruments can detect billionths of a gram of mercury vapor in the mouth of a person with amalgam fillings. However, the minuscule amount of mercury the body absorbs from amalgams is far below the level that exerts any adverse health effect [1-6]. One study found that people with symptoms they related to amalgam fillings did not have significant mercury levels. The study compared ten symptomatic patients and eight patients with no reported health complaints. The symptom group had neither a higher estimated daily uptake of inhaled mercury vapor, nor a higher mercury concentration in blood and urine than in the control group. The amounts of mercury detected by the tests were trivial [6]. Some studies have shown that the problems patients attribute to amalgam restorations are psychosomatic in nature and have been exacerbated greatly by information from the media or from a dentist [7-11] Source: Quackwatch – Stephen Barrett, M.D.

It needs to be added that it is unfortunate that the study referenced as number [6], did not take into consideration another excretory route, stool [ref1; ref2]. There are scientific studies that have found relatively high concentrations of mercury in the stool of people who have dental amalgams, while not not so much in the blood or urine. [ref]

Although some oppose dental amalgams, most countries and governmental bodies more or less still favor the use of dental amalgams – at least they did some 10 years ago, as is testified by this source:

According to the 1997 report (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service, October 1997), “In 1997, with input from a broad cross-section of scientists and dental professionals within USPHS, the FDA completed a review of nearly 60 studies that were published in peer reviewed scientific literature and were cited by citizen groups that petitioned the agency for stringent regulatory actions against dental amalgam. The analysis of the cited studies indicated that the current body of data does not support claims that individuals with dental amalgam restorations will experience adverse effects, including neurologic, renal or developmental effects, except for rare allergic or hypersensitivity reactions.” The FDA concluded that “the agency does not believe there is scientific justification for discontinuing or curtailing amalgam use.”

The 1997 U.S. Public Health Service Report also discussed opinions of foreign governments regarding the use of mercury amalgams. According to the report U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service, October 1997, “The governments of Sweden and Denmark have recommended against the use of mercury-containing materials as part of national environmental protection initiatives provided that suitable non-amalgam materials are available. The German government has recommended against the placement of dental amalgam and dental restorative materials in general in patients with demonstrated allergy to such materials, as well as patients with severe renal dysfunction. Germany has also advised against the placement of dental amalgam and the removal of amalgam fillings in pregnant women as a precautionary measure while at the same time acknowledging the lack of evidence that exposure of the unborn to mercury released from the mother’s amalgam fillings causes any health damage to the child. The European Commission, the governments of Canada, Quebec and New Zealand, and the World Health Organization have independently evaluated the current body of science relating to dental amalgam safety and universally concluded that the vast majority of people treated with dental amalgam are not at risk. Notwithstanding this conclusion, Canada and its province of Quebec have recommended prudence in dental intervention therapies for certain patient sub-populations such as pregnant women.”

Research to address health concerns of dental amalgams continues. Source: Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR)

Upon completion of this blog, a new article from Naturalnews.com showed up in my emailbox, it’s title: FDA Declares Mercury Amalgam Fillings Safe for All. The critical page that article refers to is this press release dated 28 July 2009, FDA Issues Final Regulation on Dental Amalgam:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a final regulation classifying dental amalgam and its component parts – elemental mercury and a powder alloy—used in dental fillings. While elemental mercury has been associated with adverse health effects at high exposures, the levels released by dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients.

The regulation classifies dental amalgam into Class II (moderate risk). By classifying a device into Class II, the FDA can impose special controls (in addition to general controls such as good manufacturing practices that apply to all medical devices regardless of risk) to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

The special controls that the FDA is imposing on dental amalgam are contained in a guidance document that contains, among other things, recommendations on performance testing, device composition, and labeling statements.

Specifically, the FDA recommended that the product labeling include:

  • A warning against the use of dental amalgam in patients with mercury allergy;
  • A warning that dental professionals use adequate ventilation when handling dental amalgam;
  • A statement discussing the scientific evidence on the benefits and risk of dental amalgam, including the risks of inhaled mercury vapor. The statement will help dentists and patients make informed decisions about the use of dental amalgam.

Today’s regulation also reclassifies the mercury component of dental amalgam from Class I (low risk) to Class II (moderate risk). Source: FDA (2009)

Notice the quaint oxymoronic if not self-contradictory statement. On the one hand it claims that mercury levels released by “dental amalgam fillings are not high enough to cause harm in patients.” And on the other hand it just the same decided to reclassify dental amalgams “from Class I (low risk) to Class II (moderate risk).” What does “Class II” labeling signify? On the FDA’s own website medical devices seem to fall into one of three categories: Class I (low risk), Class II (moderate risk) and Class III (high risk).

The question remains: if amalgams were already sufficiently safe then why the need to promote its risk level? A reasonable answer would be for the FDA to admit that dental amalgams do pose at least some health risks, and that the elevation of the risk level is meant to reduce that risk level. If so, the press release would be oxymoronic indeed.

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Amalgams and the Environment

Consider this video by the Evidence Based Dentistry organization IAOMT:

Bravo for Dr. Marcus! He is being responsible about protecting the environment for the next generation.

Unfortunately 150,000 other dentists are not.
Let’s do the math. He recycles 3 pounds of mercury a year. 3 X 150,000 = 450000 pounds or 225 tons of mercury are being discharged into the nations waste water annually. From there it goes into rivers and lakes or deposited on farms as fertilizer or in land fills to leach into the well water.

Dentistry with mercury is an environmental disaster. Source: iaomt.blogspot.com

Contrasting it with the advocates of amalgams, it is remarkable that “scrap dental amalgams” are to be treated as environmental hazard waste by official regulatory agencies. Indeed, the EPA states:

In 1988 scrap dental amalgam was declared a hazardous waste material by the Environmental Protection Agency… Once a doctor removes an amalgam and places it in a tray, it once again becomes a hazardous waste material. I ask the reader — what is it about the mouth that makes this same item non-toxic? Or is it possible that the mouths of some 80 percent of Americans with amalgam fillings are in actuality toxic waste dumps?” ~Sandra Denton, M.D., from The Mercury Cover-Up in the June, 1989 edition of Health Consciousness magazine. Source: Idaho Observer

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Also, the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) states quite clearly:

Specific pollution prevention opportunities and best management practices for mercury in dental offices include the following:

  • Switch from bulk mercury to precapsulated amalgam. The American Dental Association has recommended eliminating the use of bulk dental amalgam mercury and bulk amalgam alloy in dental offices.
  • Limit the amount of amalgam generated to only the amount needed for each restoration.
  • Use gauze to retrieve excess amalgam during placement. Larger particles should be stored and recycled.
  • Capture amalgam particles in traps and screens before water is discharged to the sewer. Some states recommend disposable, 40 mesh traps.
  • Keep mercury and amalgam particles out of the drain and the regular trash.
  • Collect and store mercury, amalgam particles and used, disposable traps and filters in properly labeled, airtight containers and send to a mercury recovery facility. Consult your state’s hazardous waste regulations for proper labeling and storage.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is claimed to have maintained that mercury is to be handled with the utmost care by this quote:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) be completed for every dental material used and that the dentist and staff be familiar with it’s contents. According to the MSDS, it is mandatory for the dentist to handle scrap amalgam (the portion of filling that remains after most of it is placed in your cavity as a filling) in the following manner:

1. Store in unbreakable, tightly sealed containers, away from heat.
2. Use a “no touch” technique for handling amalgam.
3. Store amalgam under special liquid to minimize escaping of mercury vapor.
Source: dentist-doi.com

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Opponents to Dental Amalgams

First consider the next admissions by the World Health Organization:

Dental amalgam constitutes a potentially significant source of exposure to elemental mercury, with estimates of daily intake from amalgam restorations ranging from 1 to 27 μg/day, the majority of dental amalgam holders being exposed to less than 5 μg mercury/day.
For elemental mercury, the main route of exposure is by inhalation, and 80% of inhaled mercury is retained.
Dental amalgam fillings are the primary source of mercury exposure for the general population (Skare, 1995; Health Canada, 1997).  Source (WHO,1991)

The next qualitative assessment rather well describes the inherently hypocritical situation regarding mercury toxicity due to dental amalgams:

Once the mercury is mixed up with silver in amalgam, it becomes perfectly safe! But in fact, it doesn’t. Mercury has a certain vapor pressure. Mixing it up with another metal to make amalgam reduces the vapor pressure. Half mercury in the amalgam – the vapor pressure of mercury over amalgam is about half that of regular mercury. Doesn’t matter if it is solid of liquid. Solids evaporate just fine. How do you think the ice cubes in your freezer go away if you leave them for a long time, or all that fluffy white frost forms? So here we have the government dweeb telling you out of one side of his mouth that yo have to pay a zillion dollars to a hazardous waste disposal company to wear what amounts to spacesuits for the hour or two it takes them to clean up a mercury spill when they break a blood pressure meter in a doctor’s office since it is SOOOOOOOO toxic and evaporates SOOOOOO fast, and then telling out of the other side of his mouth that it is perfectly fine to permanently install something half that toxic in your mouth without any precautions at all! Which side of his mouth do you believe? Source: Amalgam Illness – diagnosis and treatment by Andrew Hall Cutler, PhD PE

That indeed dental amalgams release mercury vapor is confirmed by the scientific study Equilibrium vapour pressure of mercury from dental amalgam under loading conditions. It needs to be added though that not everyone agrees that the mercury vapor pressure from dental amalgams is about half that of regular liquid mercury:

The mercury in the set amalgam is in a very different form to that in the liquid mercury. According to Okabe (1987), mercury has a vapour pressure of 1.20 x 10-3 Torr at 20°C. It is difficult to compare directly the vapour pressure of liquids and solids, and indeed it is difficult to obtain good and reproducible measurements of very low vapour pressures such as those found with amalgams (Halbach and Welz 2004), but best estimates of the vapour pressure for amalgam surfaces range from 10-6 to 10-10 Torr (Wieliczka et al. 1996). This implies that the release of mercury vapour from a set amalgam restoration will be many orders of magnitude lower than that from liquid mercury, and the availability of mercury from a solid alloy structure should not be equated with that from the liquid. Source: Green Facts

Indeed, the dispute of whether or not dental amalgams are toxic to the human body centers around the question of whether the amounts of mercury that leach into the body are negligible or not. Unfortunately for the advocates of amalgams, the next video should dispel the notion that it concerns only negligible amounts:

IAOMT Video 1

IAOMT Video 1 was found on the y2k Health and Detox Center, which not only gives quite the large laundry list of symptoms, ailments and diseases attributable to mercury toxicity but also features statistics on the extent of relief of symptoms once dental amalgams had been removed.

For those doubting if the vapor really is mercury, watch the follow-up video:

IAOMT Video 2

Or better yet, watch this video:

IAOMT Video 3

IAOMT Video 3 was retrieved from the informative iaomt.blogspot.com website.

Unfortunately however, even then not everyone is persuaded. Here’s Quackwatch’s criticism:

Anti-amalgam dentists typically use a mercury vapor analyzer to convince patients that “detoxification,” is needed. To use the device, the dentist asks the patient to chew vigorously for ten minutes, which may generate tiny amounts of mercury from the fillings. Although this exposure lasts for just a few seconds and most of the mercury will be exhaled rather than absorbed by the body, the machines give a falsely high readout, which the anti-amalgamists interpret as dangerous.

The most commonly used analyzer is the Jerome mercury detector (pictured to the right), an industrial device which multiplies the amount of mercury it detects in a small sample of air by a factor of 8,000. This gives a reading for a cubic meter, a volume far larger than the human mouth. The proper way to determine mercury exposure is to measure urine levels, which indicate how much the body has absorbed and then excreted. Scientific testing has shown that the amount of mercury absorbed from fillings is too small to be significant. Source: Quackwatch

First off, the video shows that the targeted dental amalgam is not subject to a “vigorous” stimulation that lasts “10 minutes” as Quackwatch would like to have us believe. Rather, it is only briefly stimulated; something that is also a defining feature in the IAOMT Video 1.

Secondly, absorption (following exposure) and excretion are not the same thing necessarily; its difference being retention, i.e. absorption =excretion + retention. Therefore, measuring excretion does not necessarily accurately reflect absorption as it is unknown how much mercury is retained by the (individual) body.

Thirdly, measuring urine levels only, leaves out another even more important excretory route for mercury, namely stool.

As such, this argument by Quackwatch is disqualified by being triply flawed.

Quackwatch then further criticizes that:

The devices suck in the air so that any metallic vapor and various other compounds are deposited on a gold film. The electrical resistance of the film is measured and interpreted. The volume of the mouth is 100 to 200 cubic centimeters. The device is designed to measure a volume of air several times the capacity of the mouth. When applied to the mouth, it creates a vacuum that causes mercury to be released from the fillings, leading the machine to give an artificially high reading. This reflects not only more mercury than would normally be present, but also other substances (including copper, silver, tin, plastics, foods, and gasses produced by bacteria), which also deposit on the film and change its electrical resistance. Typically the patient is shown how high the needle has gone and told that this number indicates mercury poisoning. Small errors in measurement, or large errors produced by the multiple sampling of the same volume, compound the problem. Source: Quackwatch

As IAOMT Video 3 shows however, the air sucked in by the Jerome “Gold film mercury vapor analyzer model 411” does not induce a “vacuum” at all, contrary to the claim by Quackwatch. A vacuum would imply a sheer infinite air-pressure differential between the site of measurement (the amalgam) and the internal suction source in the device. In the IAOMT Video 2, although a straw indeed was used to capture the mercury vapor, it was not closed off from its environment (e.g. through enclosing the straw with the mouth), something that would’ve been required for the generation of a pressure vacuum. Therefore, again the vacuum assumption by Quackwatch is unwarranted.

To help sort out this technical matter, I took it upon myself to contact the manufacturer of the precise type of Jerome analyzer used in the IAOMT videos and requested an expert opinion on these disputed matters. The correspondence between myself and Arizona Instrument (AI LLC) is listed in the appendix down below.

From the correspondence I concluded that although application of the Jerome analyzer to dental amalgams is not a purpose supported by AI LLC, the claims made by Quackwatch are easily refuted. Unlike Quackwatch’s claims:

  1. The analyzer is not subjected to the creation of a vacuum by the specific setup of the measurement.
  2. It is specifically and exclusively geared towards mercury vapor detection.
  3. It is delivered to the customer with full NIST compliant calibration.

The advantage of the argument clearly lies with IOAMT rather than Quackwatch.

What happens when mercury vapors emitted by dental amalgams enters the body?

1. Mercury vapor is lipid soluble and has an affinity for red blood cells and Central Nervous System(CNS) cells. Mercury vapor is the most significant exposure from dental amalgam fillings and dental office exposures.

2. Only a few micrograms of mercury severely disturb cellular function and inhibits nerve growth. Prenatal or neonatal exposures have been found to have life long effects on nerve function and other toxic developmental effects.

3. Elemental mercury vapor is more rapidly transmitted throughout the body than other forms of mercury and has more toxic effects on the CNS and other parts of the body.

4. Exposure to mercury vapor causes rapid transmittal across the blood-brain barrier and through the placenta of pregnant women to the fetus and significant developmental effects.

5. Developmental learning and behavioral effects have been found from mercury vapor at much lower levels than for exposure to methyl mercury.

6. More people have immune reactions to mercury vapor/inorganic mercury than to methyl mercury. Immune reactions to mercury are documented to cause autoimmunity and autoimmune conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome(CFS), fibromyalgia, lupus, multiple sclerosis(MS), rheumatoid arthritis, ALS, etc.

7. Mercury vapor and inorganic mercury are methylated in the body to methyl mercury by bacteria, yeast, and other methyl donors.

8. Dental amalgam fillings are the largest source of both inorganic and methyl mercury in most people with amalgam.Source: DENTAL AMALGAM MERCURY SOLUTIONS

The toxicity of dental amalgams is also raised in this quote:

Mercury release from dental amalgams

The basic premise for regarding the amalgam filling as safe was the assumption that the amalgamation process resulted in a stabilization of the normally volatile mercury. This premise has now been shown to be entirely false. Since the 1980s, it has been well established that mercury vapor is continuously released from amalgam fillings. The release of this vapor into the mouth increases immediately after chewing(6) or tooth brushing(7) and can result in a daily absorbed dose of mercury which exceeds the excretory capacity via the urine and stool. It has now been well established and published by several authorities, including the World Health Organization, that amalgam tooth fillings are, by far, the major source of mercury exposure for the general population.(8) This was recently reiterated by Health Canada in its 1995 position paper on dental amalgam.(9) According to the World Health Organization’s expert committee, the daily human exposure to mercury vapor from amalgam fillings ranges from 3micrograms to 17micrograms as compared to a maximum of 2.6micrograms from all other sources. It is disturbing to note that mercury was recently removed from latex paint in North America due to the health risks associated with inhalation of mercury vapor from the paint. Exposure to mercury from paint was estimated to be 4.6micrograms per day for approximately two weeks following application of the paint.(10) If mercury in latex paint was clearly considered such a health risk, why are amalgam fillings such a source of scornful dialog amongst the dental and medical community when amalgams are a much greater source and a far more persistent source of inhaled mercury? Source: karlloren.com

The reader is also invited to read the sections Uptake and distribution of inhaled mercury and Clinical effects of inhaled mercury of the source cited above .

Another quote reads:

Mercury is more poisonous than any other metal except Plutonium. Although the safety of dental filling material containing mercury has been debated in dental circles since the 1800’s, the official opinion of the American Dental Association is that when mercury is combined with other metals and used in dental amalgam fillings, the toxic properties of mercury are rendered harmless. There exists a growing awareness among health care practitioners and researchers that this is not the case and that a significant amount of mercury is released by these fillings to cause health problems, especially in susceptible individuals. Research has demonstrated that mercury vapor is continuously released from amalgam fillings in measurable quantities from the moment fillings are inserted into teeth. Mercury is inhaled, swallowed and absorbed directly in the mouth. [See: Vimy, MJ & Lorscheider, FL, J. Trace Elem. Exper. Med. 3:111(1990), Skare I, Enqvist A, Arch.Env.Hlth. 49:384(1994) and Lorscheider FL, et al. FASEB J. 9:504(1995)] In his book “It’s All in Your Head-Diseases Caused by Silver-Mercury Fillings”, Hal Huggins, D.D.S. describes his breakthrough work establishing that mercury is released from compounds that are toxic and that these compounds can produce illness. Sequential amalgam removal can result in remission of the illness. Source: kingjamesomegatech-lab.com

Another great resource is provided by the next summary article that is heavily backed-up by an abundance of references to scientific studies:

3. Dental Amalgam Fillings are the Largest Source of Mercury in Most People who have amalgam fillings (2-22)   and  Daily Mercury Exposure from Amalgam Commonly Exceeds Government Health Standards for Inorganic Mercury(vapor). (4-10,19-21)

4. Medical tests show that those with several amalgam fillings have on average 10 times more mercury in feces and saliva than those without amalgam,  and after amalgam replacement levels of mercury in feces and saliva decline approx. 90%, while mercury level in urine declines 75% on average.   (19,13-15)

5.  Elemental and inorganic mercury are methylated in the body to methyl mercury by bacteria, yeasts, etc. so that amalgam fillings are the largest source of methyl mercury in many people who have amalgams (17,18,13-15)

6.  Mercury from amalgam  is passed on to fetuses and infants through mother’s blood and  milk, and Mother’s dental amalgam fillings are the largest source of mercury in most fetuses and infants prior to mercury containing vaccinations (12,26,21).
7.  Dental amalgam is the largest source of mercury in most children who have amalgam fillings other than from vaccines, and mercury level is directly proportional to the number of mercury fillings(11,21).  Developmental effects on infants occur at low levels of mercury exposure and  many thousands are known to be affected.(25,26,12)

8. Mercury vapor  from amalgam is the most dangerous form of mercury, most  rapidly crossing blood-brain barrier and mother’s placenta, and causing  adverse developmental effects at lower levels than other forms. (28,26,21,29)
10. Mercury in those with amalgam fillings or dental workers accumulates to much higher levels in the major body organs like the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys that receive a lot of blood than in those without amalgam. Mercury blocks or damages metabolic or hormonal processes in all organs at very low levels of exposure. (16,21,22)

12. Those who replace amalgam fillings and reduce body mercury levels commonly recover or see significant improvement, as documented by peer-reviewed studies and thousands of clinical cases histories. (23,31,21) Source: DENTAL AMALGAM MERCURY SOLUTIONS

Another great source is provided by an FDA approved source no less. Several presentation sheets read:

2005 Norwegian Broadcasting Documentary on “Mercury girls”
Investigation into dental nurses complaints:

  1. Tremors, memory and concentration problems, liver and kidney problems
  2. depressions, extreme fatigue, anxiety, mood swings
  3. vision disturbances, diarrhea and menstrualand muscular problems

Study Results

  1. Study of neurological differences between dental nurses and control group
  2. Results surprised scientists:25% of dental nurses reported having neurological problems.
  3. Tremors: 36% vs8% (nurses vscontrol); Memory: 14% vs0%; Depressions: 18% v 4%; Heart and Lung Problems: 21% vs5%.

Experiment Conducted in Response to “Expert”Claims “No Effect”at that Hg Level

  1. Professor Nils Gjerdetat the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Bergen conducted experiment
  2. Following the procedure used in the past in dental office, heated amalgam (under hood) then measured vapors
  3. Results were staggering
  4. Every time amalgam was prepared the meter read 1000 mg/m3, the maximum limit device measures

New Zealand Nurses Were Exposed to Similar Levels of Mercury

  1. In 1974, authorities discovered nurses ill with mercury poisoning; given paid leave until levels “normalized”
  2. Nurses contacted authorities in 1990’s with concerns about their health and that of their children
  3. Statistically significant study found 25 % of the dental nurses had had a hysterectomy compared to 6 % in the control group.

Source: Michael Bender, Director Mercury Policy Project/Tides Center (2006)

And last but not least,  in 2008 a lawsuit filed by the Moms Against Mercury et al. against the FDA was ruled in favor of the former:

After 32 years of delay, the Food and Drug Administration has finally agreed to comply with the law and set a date to classify mercury amalgam as a substance that poses a health risk to pregnant women and unborn babies, and children. This about-face resulted from settling, earlier this week, our lawsuit, Moms Against Mercury et al. v. Von Eschenbach, Commissioner, et al. (see Press Release) Stating it was an “unreasonable delay” and “an reasonable case of failure to act.” As reflected in the May 16, 2008 court transcripts, Judge Ellen Huvelle states that theprobability of harm is enormous,” and asked the FDA: “How could you drag your feet for 32 years? Do what you are supposed to do.” (see full transcript) Judge Huvelle also states that she couldn’t “order a ban, but can compel to act,” observing that this was government at its worst and that she wanted this “public safety issue to be resolved.” The FDA must now finish classification within one year of the close of the public comment period on its amalgam policy, that is, by July 28, 2009. Source: Mercury Policy Project


I think it’s hardly exaggerated to state that the body of evidence is overwhelmingly stacked in favor of the opponents to dental amalgams. Of course, it is left to the reader to decide whether or not the harm caused by the presence of dental amalgams is negligible, but personally the case is clear as crystal: dental amalgams are Bad news. So much so in fact that a few years ago I had the several remaining amalgams in my mouth replaced with composite substitutes and I am currently using heavy metal chelators to cleanse my system from any remaining amount of mercury that was leached into my system.

How to detoxify from mercury contamination is the subject of the third and final installment of my blog on mercury.

Recommended Videos:

  1. 60 Minutes – Poison in Your Mouth (1990)

  2. BBC – PANORAMA – Poison in the Mouth – (1994)

1. Toxic Mercury – Evidence of a Strong Poison
2. Dental Amalgams – Poisonous Teeth
3. Mercury Detox – Ridding the Body of Mercury

Appendix – Correspondence with Arizona Instrument on the Used Jerome Mercury Analyzer

In an attempt to settle the dispute between IOAMT and Quackwatch on the issue of whether or not the Jerome Gold film mercury vapor analyzer model 411 gives an accurate reading of elemental mercury from dental amalgams, I contacted its manufacturer Arizona Instrument.

The correspondence is as follows:

Dear Assistant,

I’m referring to the Jerome Gold film mercury vapor analyzer model 411. In the following quote certain claims are made that pertain to the said Jerome Mercury detector:

“The devices suck in the air so that any metallic vapor and various other compounds are deposited on a gold film. The electrical resistance of the film is measured and interpreted. The volume of the mouth is 100 to 200 cubic centimeters. The device is designed to measure a volume of air several times the capacity of the mouth. When applied to the mouth, it creates a vacuum that causes mercury to be released from the fillings, leading the machine to give an artificially high reading. This reflects not only more mercury than would normally be present, but also other substances (including copper, silver, tin, plastics, foods, and gasses produced by bacteria), which also deposit on the film and change its electrical resistance. Typically the patient is shown how high the needle has gone and told that this number indicates mercury poisoning. Small errors in measurement, or large errors produced by the multiple sampling of the same volume, compound the problem.

To ensure accuracy, these machines should be calibrated by testing them with standard concentrations of mercury. This is important because over time, the build-up of substances on the gold film tends to raise the readings. Anti-amalgam dentists almost never calibrate their equipment to retain accuracy. “

Source: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/mercurytests.html

The questions I have are:

Is it true, as claimed, that a vacuum is created, or, if not, to what extent it is approximated?

How specific is the Jerome detector? Does it allow for, as claimed, the possibility to register other-than-mercury metallic vapors, or any other-than-mercury vapors that may interfere with its proper readings, and as such give inaccurate results?

Is it true, as claimed, that over time the Jerome analyzer becomes inaccurate and/or in need of recalibration?

Is it possible that, prior to operation, Jerome analyzers are delivered to the customer poorly calibrated or even uncalibrated? (that is, do the customers have to do the calibration themselves?)

Your assistance in helping getting these matters cleared up is duly appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Philip A.E. Jonkers,

PhD. Physics University of Groningen 2000

Not too long after sending this inquiry I received a reply from AI Field Service Engineer:

Hi, thanks for your email inquiry.

The first thing I want to disclose is that mercury vapor readings in a persons mouth otherwise known as intra-oral is not an approved test method even though it is widely used for this application. Typically, a short plastic straw is inserted into the intake of the Jerome analyzer. The patient should not close their mouth on the straw so that it does not create the so called vacuum you stated below. The Jerome 411 model is a discontinued model however here is the users manual where the specifications (page 20) can be reviewed.

Other forms of mercury organic or inorganic due provide a minor response to the Gold Film inside the analyzer. Being we calibrate the instrument to elemental mercury only those other compounds should be considered only as a qualitative response. All Jerome instruments sold by the manufacturer (Arizona Instrument) are calibrated to NIST standards. Just like any other measuring device the consumer should follow manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to calibration requirements and frequency. As for the customer, Arizona Instrument offers a functional test kit to verify operation of the analyzer if they deem necessary.


Paul Beehler
Field Service Engineer
Arizona Instrument
3375 N. Delaware Street
Chandler, AZ 85225

800-528-7411 Phone
480-804-0656 Fax
602-770-3073 Mobile


Attached to the email was a PDF of the accompanying manual. Page 20 is:
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