By Dr. Mercola
Dental amalgam — deceptively marketed as "silver" fillings, denoting their color rather than their composition — are 50 percent mercury and therefore really should not be placed in the mouth. Mercury is a potent and well-recognized neurotoxin, and there's no magic formula or process that renders it safe once it's in your teeth. As noted by Charlie Brown, former attorney general for West Virginia and president of Consumers for Dental Choice:
"In its amalgam rule, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concedes that this mercury product poses a risk for the unborn and young children: 'The developing neurological systems in fetuses and young children may be more sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of mercury vapor.'
FDA also admits that there is no scientific proof that amalgam is safe for these populations: 'Very limited to no clinical information is available regarding long-term health outcomes in pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and children under the age of , including infants who are breastfed.'"
Despite such admissions, the FDA's amalgam rule continues to support and promote the use of amalgam. This toxic and health harming practice needs to end and, in the video above, Brown details two recent developments that really should force the FDA to finally take action.
Two Groundbreaking Developments Highlighting the Need for FDA Action on Amalgam
In 2013, the Minamata Convention, which is focused on reducing environmental mercury pollution, was signed by more than 100 nations, including the U.S. Consumers for Dental Choice was instrumental in getting dental mercury included in this global treaty, which requires participating nations to phase down dental amalgam.
In the three years since, the FDA has not responded or taken any action regarding this requirement — yet they have no choice; they must do so eventually, so why not now? Then, in December of last year, the European Union reached an agreement of its three parts — Parliament, Council and Commission — to ban mercury dental fillings in pregnant or nursing women and children under the age of 15.1,2
This spring, the European Parliament ratified the package of reforms to implement Minamata, including the partial amalgam ban, by an astounding margin of 663 to 8! The ban takes effect on July 1, 2018. This means women and children in 28 countries, with a population totaling more than half a billion people, will be protected from this dangerous neurotoxin.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., the FDA — which claims to be the "gold standard" in medical device regulation — has done nothing, zilch, zero, at all to safeguard even the most vulnerable among us. The agency admits amalgam poses a risk for unborn and young children, and that it has no proof amalgam is safe for use in these populations, so why has it not taken action to protect Americans?
The FDA simply must take action on this issue, and between the Minamata treaty and the E.U.'s partial ban on amalgam, the agency really has no choice but to do what the treaty requires and 28 other countries have agreed to do already, which is to ban the use of amalgam in children under 15, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
Banning amalgam use for these groups is an important first step toward mercury-free dentistry for everyone. In Sweden, once amalgam was banned for children and pregnant women, a total ban was soon to follow. To remind the FDA of its responsibility, please take a moment right now to sign the Consumers for Dental Choice petition to the FDA to ban amalgam in these most vulnerable groups — the first step toward banning amalgam use for everyone.
Mercury Has No Place in Modern Dentistry
Mercury-containing amalgam is a primitive and toxic dental repair device that is technically inferior to modern alternatives. It simply has no place in modern dentistry. One of the most popular alternatives to amalgam is resin composite, which is made of a type of plastic reinforced with powdered glass.
It is already common throughout the U.S. and the rest of the developed world, offering notable improvements over amalgam as it's nontoxic, environmentally safe, allows the dentist to preserve healthy tooth structure and has excellent durability, typically lasting as long or longer than amalgams.
Meanwhile, evidence shows dental amalgams readily release mercury in the form of vapor every time you eat, drink or brush your teeth, with a single amalgam filling releasing an average of 10 micrograms (mcg) per day. The video above demonstrates this. For comparison, eating mercury-tainted seafood can expose you to about 2.3 mcg per day, which was enough for scientists to call for a worldwide warning in 2006.
Mercury promotes chronic inflammation, which is a key factor in most chronic disease. It also impairs your body's ability to detoxify, and toxic load is another component driving chronic disease rates skyward.
Beware of Metals in Dentistry
Today, about 50 percent of American dentists offer mercury-free dentistry. That percentage really needs to be 100 percent, and to accelerate change, it's important that you demand mercury-free dentistry for yourself and your children — both from your dentist and your insurance company.
If they refuse, switch dentists; switch insurance. Consumer pressure is by far the fastest way to eliminate a hazardous practice. Ideally, you should not have any kind of metal in your mouth. When metals, such as those used in crowns and implants, are placed in your mouth, they sit in a medium of saliva, which turns your mouth into a charged battery. We call this charge "galvanic toxicity."
Your brain is a collection of nerves and supportive connective tissues that are highly sensitive to these microamp currents. Galvanic toxicity in your mouth can easily disrupt sensitive neural circuits and function. Common signs and symptoms of galvanic toxicity are a metallic taste in your mouth, an electric charge with utensils and insomnia.
Finding suitable materials to replace the metals currently used can be a challenge, but a knowledgeable biological dentist should be able to inform you of the latest, safe alternatives. Holistic dentists use biocompatible materials that will not adversely impact your immune system.
EPA Sued for Withdrawing Mercury Policy
Dental amalgams are also a significant source of environmental mercury pollution, which is why it was included in the Minamata treaty in the first place. There are 130,000 dental offices in the U.S., about 103,000 of which still either use or remove amalgam fillings.3 Together, these dentists discharge about 5.1 tons of mercury each year to publically owned water treatment plants4 and, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "most of this mercury is subsequently released to the environment."
Indeed, dental offices are the single largest source of mercury pollution at sewage treatment plants — mercury pollution that then ends up accumulating in the environment and contaminating fish. In December 2016, the EPA finally — after more than 15 years of debate and inaction — finalized a rule that would restrict these kinds of mercury discharges by requiring dentists to install amalgam separators and follow best management practices.
Alas, the rule was unceremoniously withdrawn following a regulatory freeze order issued by the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, on January 20, 2017, and the EPA is now facing a lawsuit because of it. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which filed the suit, the EPA cannot legally withdraw its mercury protection rule without first going through the Administrative Procedure Act notice and comment process.
The NRDC also contends that, technically, the regulatory freeze order does not even apply to the dental amalgam rule because the order exempts "any regulations subject to statutory or judicial deadlines." NRDC's litigation director, Aaron Colangelo, said in a statement:5
"The Trump White House ordered the EPA and other agencies to violate the law … That puts Americans at greater risk of exposure to this dangerous neurotoxin, which can do harm even in tiny amounts … EPA's withdrawal of the mercury rule is not just illegal, but senseless. The rule imposes minimal burden, drew widespread praise from dental providers and benefits public health and the environment."
Important Safety Information for Amalgam Removal
For those of you who have mercury fillings, I recommend having them removed by a competent biological dentist who follows protocols for amalgam removal. When amalgams are removed, a large amount of mercury is released, and if the proper precautions aren't taken, your body can absorb a massive dose of mercury that can lead to acute kidney problems.
Biological dentists are well aware of these dangers. Some of the steps that need to be taken to keep you and your dentist safe during amalgam removal include:
Providing you with an alternative air source and instructing you not to breathe through your mouth
Putting a rubber dam in your mouth so you don't swallow or inhale any toxins, and using a high-volume evacuator near the tooth at all times to evacuate the mercury vapor
Using a cold-water spray to minimize mercury vapors
Washing your mouth out immediately after the fillings have been removed (the dentist should also change gloves after the removal)
Immediately cleaning your protective wear and face once the fillings are removed
Using room air purifiers
How to Find a Mercury-Free Dentist and/or Biological Dentist for Amalgam Removal
The mercury-safe dentist directory by the International Association of Mercury Safe Dentists (IAMSD) is a source that can be useful if you're looking for a mercury-free dentist. Through this service, you can search for mercury-free dentists (members of IAMSD) in the U.S., Canada and internationally.
When it comes to amalgam you already have, it is vital that you do not see just any conventionally trained dentist to remove your mercury like I did 23 years ago. That will likely cause more problems than it solves. You should only use a biologically trained dentist who has the skills to remove this highly toxic metal without harming you, as removing amalgam can lead to severe and acute mercury poisoning. Biological dentists are trained to treat your oral and physical health as a cohesive whole.
The following organizations can help you find a dentist qualified in the safe removal of mercury fillings in the U.S. and (in some cases) internationally:
Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions (DAMS). Email them at: email@example.com or call (651) 644-4572 for an information packet
Tailoring a Detoxification Protocol
Once you've had your amalgam fillings safely removed, you need to consider a detoxification protocol to address any mercury toxicity you may have in your body as a result of those amalgams. For my mercury detoxification protocol, please see "Revised Protocol for Detoxifying Your Body From Mercury Exposure."
I have been doing a deep dive into heavy metal detoxification and hope to post my revised protocol that involves using a low EMF far-infrared sauna with near-infrared supplementation, along with mercury chelators like zeolite, modified citrus pectin, high dose liposomal vitamin C, chlorella and alpha lipoic acid. I hope to publish it in the next few months.
Take Action — Tell FDA It's Time to Ban Amalgam for Unborn and Young Children
If you haven't done so already, I urge you to take a moment to sign Consumers for Dental Choice's petition to the FDA. The agency admits amalgam poses a risk for unborn and young children. It admits there's no proof amalgam is safe for use. Enough is enough. The time is well overdue for the FDA to take action on this issue to protect children and pregnant women from this well-recognized neurotoxin.