AMALGAM AND MERCURY VAPORS
A Toxic Time Bomb in Your Mouth
Internationally, there are still dental practices where amalgam is used as a dental filling material. If one does not care about toxicity, this is understandable, as it has a reasonable lifespan at about 12 years, is pressure resistant, can withstand temperature variations well and is easy to process.
By C.F. van der Horst
August 27, 2015, updated October 27, 2022
Amalgam and the Release of Mercury Vapors
Amalgam is risky because half of it consists of mercury, and there is increasing evidence that this toxic metal enters the body from the amalgam. For example, according to a Swedish study, daily mercury intake was found to be 3-7 micrograms and in extreme cases as high as 100 micrograms. These amounts seem small, but can already have unpleasant consequences. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that exposure to mercury in even small amounts can cause serious health problems. Mercury can have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, lungs, kidneys, skin, and eyes. The metal also poses a threat to child development in the womb and in early life.
On January 1, 2008, Norway banned the use of amalgam. Sweden followed suit in 2009. According to a 2017 United Nations report, amalgam is being phased out in Japan, Finland, and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, amalgam is already banned from dental treatment of baby teeth, children under 15 years of age, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. The European Community aims for a total ban by 2030.
What is amalgam?
Amalgam is a mixture of about 50% mercury, 22-32% silver, 14% tin, and sometimes 8% copper. These components do not form a stable chemical compound, but an alloy, a metal mixture. The word amalgamate means to mix. Over time, mercury volatilizes and enters the body where it can cause all sorts of health problems.
The WHO determined in 2003 that for the average person, amalgam fillings are the main source of mercury exposure.
Research on Amalgam Health Risks
In 2002, Professor Maths Berlin was appointed by the Swedish government as a special researcher to investigate the risks of amalgam as a mercury source. He conducted a large review between 1997 and 2002. Mercury is a multipotent cytotoxin (cellular poison) that disrupts primary cellular processes with a wide spectrum of side effects, Berlin said.
At the start of his study, the following health risks due to mercury in amalgam fillings were already known:
- Obstruction of central nervous system functions.
- Impaired kidney function
- Impaired immune system
- Impairment of fetal development, particularly of the central nervous system.
Research over the next five years revealed that mercury also damaged the thyroid gland and retina. The concluding report concluded, “For medical reasons, amalgam in dental care should be eliminated as soon as possible.”
Mercury Is a Neurotoxin
Fred Neelissen, former dentist in Overveen, Netherlands, wrote about amalgam in the Dutch Journal of Dentistry: “Mercury is known to have an affinity for mucous membranes and the nervous system. It is neurotoxic. Regarding the latter, research has shown that atomic mercury crosses the blood-brain barrier and accumulates in the pituitary gland, among others. A study of dentists indicated this. It is also known that multiple sclerosis is a metal disease and that mercury may play a role in it. Thus, there are more pathologies related to mercury. These include respiratory infections, heart disease, Morbus Crohn, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
What Are Complaints from Amalgam?
The most common complaints associated with mercury fumes from amalgam fillings are gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, irritability, pain in muscles and joints, headaches, ear, nose, and throat complaints, poor memory and concentration problems, allergies, coordination disorders, kidney problems, hormonal problems, impaired immune system function, and poor appetite.
The Benefits of Amalgam Removal
That it makes sense to have the amalgam removed was shown by the findings of a Canadian study. These showed that the removal of amalgam fillings reduced the measured amount of mercury in urine to levels in individuals without amalgam fillings. Research shows that removing amalgam fillings led to a reduction in intraoral and general health complaints.
Mercury Fumes from Amalgam Fillings: Hard Evidence on Video
More information on this matter can be found in Deadly Lies: How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived. The book references, among other things, a film on amalgam by the Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. Below is a two-minute excerpt in English with Dutch subtitles. It shows the mercury vapors released from amalgam fillings. Although mercury is not released from new fillings as quickly as it is from these old ones, the message is clear.
Alternatives to Amalgam
If you do not want to risk mercury in your body, there are good alternatives such as composite or ceramic (porcelain). If your dentist’s name is not Freddie Mercury, he will be happy to advise you on that.
Want to Know More?
Why is amalgam used despite the risks? What are the alternatives to amalgam? What is the role of nutrition in preventing tooth decay? What about fluoride in (children’s) toothpaste?
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