Amalgam fillings - will they seriously damage your health?
In 1997 I used to spend quite a lot of time in San Diego. A business associate who lived there was at that time becoming increasing worried about his wife who was 49 years old. This attractive petite woman who previously was a ‘bundle of energy’ was literally wasting away and the doctors were baffled as they could not find anything wrong.
Her hair was falling out, her teeth and gums that used to be in excellent condition started to deteriorate. Her skin was looking sickly and she was having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. It very much looked like she would die within the year. After months of frantic testing and trying all sorts of medications with no success someone suggested testing for mercury toxicity. ‘Bingo’, they found high levels of mercury within her body and began a program to clean out her system.
Within a few months she was back to her old self. This person was a bit of a health ‘nut’ and ate an excellent diet. So, where did the mercury come from? This is a question that still remains unanswered. She did however have quite a few amalgam fillings (which she has since had replaced with composites). In her opinion and that of others this was the only source of mercury that she had been knowingly exposed to.
If you research amalgam fillings you will find similar anecdotal reports all around the world in which these are suspected to be the cause of mercury poisoning. For just a few further examples check out http://www.yourhealthbase.com/amalgams.html.
What is an amalgam filling?
They typically comprise 50% pure elemental mercury, 35% silver, 13% tin, 2% copper, and a trace of zinc. The metal powders react with liquid mercury to produce an amalgam (or alloy) that provides a flexible material that can be easily packed and shaped. Amalgam fillings are often called silver fillings because of appearance and composition.
Mercury is one of the most toxic substances ever discovered and just small ‘whiffs’ of vapor can create serious health problems.
Are amalgam fillings really dangerous?
There is a question surrounded in controversy, at least amongst dentists. The official stance in the US taken by the American Society of Dental Surgeons (ADA) is that they are safe. I and many more people much more qualified than myself strongly disagree. The ADA suggests that there is no evidence that amalgam fillings are dangerous, but their stand on this issue is totally contrary to the evidence of reputable researchers and therefore hard to understand.
Here are some examples of amalgam findings in Europe and Japan.
- In 1985 the Swedish Health and Welfare Board appointed a group of experts to examine the risk of low level exposure to mercury. As a result it was determined that the practice of using amalgam fillings should be discontinued. This resulted in a ban on amalgam fillings in Sweden in 1991.
- The Swedish government now pays for the replacement of amalgam fillings with composite ones.
- Studies in Germany have shown high levels of mercury poisoning in patients with amalgam fillings. This has led to pressure on the Government from German dentists to cease covering the cost of amalgam fillings under the Government health insurance plan.
- In Japan a prominent biocompatibility researcher Dr Kazuhiko Asai points out that amalgam fillings can be likened to a free radical generator right in your mouth.
Based on the view of the ADA it would seem that all the research carried out in the above countries and others is flawed! Interesting... because the ADA hasn’t always thought that!
In fact, back in 1840, the ADA was so against the use of amalgam that it required its members to sign pledges that they would not use it. In 1848, The Society of Dentists of the City and State of New York suspended eleven of members for "malpractice," because of its use. Was the ADA wrong then, or were they just ahead of their time?
What about mercury in the environment?
This is a dangerous spin off from the use of amalgam, and one which advocates of amalgam fillings will be hard pressed to defend.
Here are a few facts to ponder over:
- Dentists used 200,000 pounds of mercury in 1980.
- They used 400,000 pounds in 1990.
- An estimated 600,000 pounds was used in 2000.
That’s a lot of mercury being carried around in people’s mouths! But not all of it is confined to amalgam fillings. A reasonable amount goes down the waste drain in the dentist’s office and ultimately ends up in the nation’s water supplies and aquifers. This is no doubt a factor in the increasing levels of toxic mercury being found in rivers and lakes and also in some fish.
You will need to draw your own conclusions but as I am sure you can see from this article I am totally convinced that amalgam fillings have no place in anyone’s mouth. The risks are simply too high. Who knows for sure whether or not the undiagnosed illnesses that millions of people suffer from are perhaps due to mercury poisoning?
I for one do not want to take the risk. However, if you are in good health I don’t think that there is a need to panic and go rushing off to the dentist to have your amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composites. Maybe you may take the same approach as I do. Although I haven’t had a filling for many years I still go to the dentist once a year for a check up and during that visit I will have him replace one or two amalgam fillings with composite ones.
Because of the risk of extra free radical activity due to the amalgam fillings I would suggest ensuring that you take a powerful antioxidant every day.
Until the next issue.
In good health,