This video is worth more than a thousand words when it comes to illustrating the very real danger of mercury fillings. The video helps to powerfully demonstrate that if you have these "silver" fillings then every time you eat, chew, visit the dentist or drink hot coffee, the mercury vapors are released directly into your mouth and body.
The poisonous vapors are odorless, colorless and tasteless, however, so you won't be able to tell that they're there. It takes holding a tooth up in black light to be able to see the toxic shadows of mercury being released.
A single dental amalgam filling releases as much as 15 micrograms of mercury per day. The average individual has eight amalgam fillings and could absorb up to 120 micrograms of mercury per day. In contrast, eating mercury-tainted seafood will expose you to about 2.3 micrograms per day -- and that is enough for scientists to call for a worldwide warning.
A Primitive and Dangerous Dental Tool
In the words of Charlie Brown, president of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, "Amalgam is a primitive, polluting, 19th century product that began when physicians were sawing off legs. Medicine has since moved forward."
Unfortunately, this aspect of dentistry has not.
The American Dental Association (ADA) continues to give amalgam (mercury) fillings their seal of approval, stating:
"Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients."
The ADA is also among those pro-mercury forces who are asking for an exemption to a worldwide environmental treaty on mercury that is in the works, so they may keep selling amalgam indefinitely.
The FDA is also far behind the rest of the world in stepping up to the plate to reduce mercury. The FDA has been standing in the way of banning this dangerous dental material for 34 years -- since 1976.
Most recently, the FDA ruled that there would be no warnings to patients, not even young women and parents of young children, that the mercury from the amalgam fillings is a reproductive toxin and a neurotoxin.
The FDA even gives the amalgam industry the green light to sell and place amalgam without disclosing to consumers that the fillings are mainly mercury, even though the agency is aware of the industry's long-time deceptive practice of marketing amalgam as "silver fillings."
As a further step to conceal the mercury and its risks, the FDA even pulled from its website a warning that dental mercury can cause neurological damage to children and fetuses.
The Truth about Mercury Fillings: Disasters for Your Health and the Environment
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can damage your brain, central nervous system and kidneys. Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk, but really anyone can be affected.
The metallic mercury used by dentists to manufacture dental amalgam is shipped as a hazardous material to the dental office. Any amalgam leftover is also treated as hazardous and requires special precautions to dispose of.
Mercury from dental offices is actually the largest source of mercury in wastewater. According to an article by Michael Bender (co-founder of the Mercury Policy Project), at least 40 percent of mercury flowing into municipal water treatment plants begin in dentist offices. And those plants are not set up to remove it, so it ends up in your fish.
Once someone dies, their amalgam fillings actually pose a risk to the living as well. Emissions from the combustion of mercury fillings during cremation are a significant contaminator of air, waterways, soil, wildlife and food. Seven to nine metric tons of mercury per year escapes into the atmosphere during cremations, and it is estimated that, left unchecked, crematoria will be the largest single cause of mercury pollution by 2020.
When you factor in environmental costs and clean-up costs, amalgam is actually the MOST EXPENSIVE dental material in the world.
It is also the number one cause of mercury exposure for consumers, according to the Canadian government and other sources.
As it stands, U.S. dentists remain free to offer you any kind of filling they want, and four out of five dental specialists are still placing amalgams.
IMPORTANT: Find a Good Biologic Dentist
If you are convinced of the importance of removing your mercury let me caution you to avoid the mistake I made.
After being convinced of the danger by watching the 60 Minutes program on the topic 20 years ago (you can see the video below) I actually had over a dozen of my amalgam fillings removed.
I saw one of the elders at the church I went to, and while he was a competent conventional dentist he was absolutely clueless about the dangers of mercury. As a result I had large amounts of mercury liberated improperly and I believe it was largely responsible for damaging my kidneys.
Several years later I had all the gold crowns replaced with glass crowns and then eventually with composites. It was an expensive process and in the early '90s cost over $20,000.
But the money is not the issue; the major danger is what the mercury can do to your body.
SO PLEASE …
Avoid my mistake and see a biologic dentist that is trained in properly removing mercury so it doesn't go into your body during the removal process. This typically involves the use of high-powered suction and rubber dams.
One simple strategy is to ask your friends or local health food stores who these dentists are in your community or you can also contact the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, which is the organization that created the video at the top of this article.
What's the Attitude toward Mercury Fillings in the Rest of the World?
For a country that is supposed to be so scientifically advanced, the United States is lagging behind the rest of the world, and even behind some third-world countries, when it comes to mercury fillings:
- Canada advised dentists to stop placing amalgam in children and pregnant women in 1996 -- 15 years ago!
- Denmark, Norway and Sweden have essentially banned amalgams.
- There are 5,636 hospitals in developing countries that are committed to or already mercury-free. The majority of these are in the Philippines, India, and Argentina.
However, thanks to a massive response from grassroots America to the FDA's abysmal 2009 amalgam rule, the FDA has agreed to re-examine its pro-mercury fillings position and, come December, will convene hearings before its Dental Products Panel to determine whether to stop amalgam use for children and pregnant women.
In a major victory, and largely thanks to your efforts at making your voices heard, on July 15, 2010 the FDA chose a mercury-free dentist by the name of Michael Fleming to sit on this Panel.
But as we move toward the December hearing, we need your continuing letters and phone calls to the FDA and I'll give details shortly to help you do so. As it stands, the FDA is remaining adamant in protecting mercury fillings, which no doubt has at least something to do with its commissioner.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has an egregious conflict of interest on amalgam, yet participated in the rule making. Hamburg entered the FDA through the revolving door after allegedly making millions as the director of Henry Schein Inc., the largest seller of amalgam.
So although the panel selection process is complete, the FDA needs to continue hearing your voice. We must show them there is a large body of consumers out there who are keeping an eye on them -- like hawks.
Join the Fight to Get Rid of Mercury in Dentistry
If at all possible, please attend the FDA hearing coming up this December:
December 14 and 15, 2010, 8am -6pm
Holiday Inn-Gaithersburg, Main Ballroom
2 Montgomery Village Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20879
The FDA will not be expecting a forceful turnout, especially from ordinary citizens, so we can surprise them with a show of force and dogged determination.
Even if you cannot attend the hearing, make sure to submit your comments to the panel for the record. You can submit your comments in two ways:
- Submit them online at this site.
- Submit them by mail to:
Division of Documents Management, Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
Label all comments "Dental Amalgam — Docket Number FDA-2010-N-0268" so that it gets into the right file.
Comments can involve telling the FDA about your injuries, your children's exposure to mercury, how your mercury fillings were implanted without your informed consent, how deceptive the FDA's dental amalgam website is, how mercury hurts our environment, or any other concerns relating to mercury fillings.
If you live in southern California, Consumers for Dental Choice has a special request.
They are organizing a grassroots project to educate communities about the hazards of dental mercury. If you would like to get involved, write Charlie Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, put "Californian" in the subject line, and list which county you live in and your contact information.
During the American Civil War, mercury's use was prevalent, and even then controversial. Physicians in that era used it to treat soldiers for dysentery, typhoid, malaria, pneumonia, and syphilis -- all uses that today would never be considered.
Let's see that amalgam is soon added to this list and recognized for what it really is: a toxic dentistry device that has been harming human health and the environment for far too long.