By now, most people understand mercury is toxic, dangerous heavy metal, one to avoid at all costs. The original mercury fever thermometers are almost entirely banned in the U.S. and across much of the developed world. And on September 30, 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a plan to phase out mercury-containing non-fever thermometers in both commercial and industrial settings. So why, then, do organizations such as the American Dental Association (ADA) state it’s perfectly safe to use mercury amalgams (aka “silver fillings?”)
If it’s not safe to use mercury in glass thermometers, why would it be safe to put it in someone’s mouth?
Why Mercury-Free Dentistry is the Safest, Best Option
Mercury accumulation in the environment continues to be a worldwide problem. The mercury used in amalgams can change into methylmercury which is an even more toxic substance. After amalgams are removed, or after dental mercury waste is released into the environment, microorganisms transform the waste into methylmercury. This substance is even more toxic than the original mercury which then accumulates in fish, affecting humans and the animals that eat fish. (That’s why in our offices, we utilize a mercury scavenging system in our suction equipment.)
This is problematic because fish is incredibly healthy food and the mainstay of many traditional diets around the world. Consuming fish with mercury can negate the health benefits of fish and other aspects of a healthy lifestyle. (Check out this chart to see which fish have the highest levels of mercury.) However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), mercury absorption from amalgam fillings is approximately four times higher than mercury absorption from consuming fish. So, if you have mercury amalgams, you’re at a higher risk than those that don’t of accumulating mercury in the body.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) explains further how the mercury used in dental amalgams and general dentistry is released into the body and the environment. (The WHO has found that the dental industry contributes 340 tons of mercury to the environment, yearly, and the EPA has found that dental offices are by far the largest source of mercury disposal at sewage plants in the U.S.) When considering the toxin-related health issues many of us are experiencing today (rates of autistic children increasing, more and more state-mandated, mercury-filled vaccinations, a tremendous increase in autoimmune diseases) it makes sense to limit the use of mercury both inside and outside the body.
Having seen the effects of mercury poisoning, and having seen health return after the removal of mercury amalgams, we believe that everyone should insist upon mercury-free dentistry. While government entities may be behind on establishing legislation for harm-free dentistry, the power is still in the consumers’ hands. Insist upon mercury-free dentistry! Ask your dentist what they use for amalgams, and if they think mercury is safe for their clients. Want to get rid of mercury amalgams? Learn more about our protocol for mercury removal here.