New Movie Bringing Attention to Mercury Amalgams
A new movie available for download and viewing online called ‘Mercury Undercover’ is exposing the abhorrent practices going on at the national level that prevent mainstream Americans from learning the truth about poison contamination from dental amalgam. Mercury Undercover illustrates all the evidence about mercury contamination, and features interviews by doctors, renowned scientists, environmental experts and survivors of mercury poisoning.
The disturbing issues brought to light in this film are geared to alarm viewers just enough to cause them to pause before buying and consuming fish products and to take into consideration the potential ramifications of their next dental procedure.
A few points brought up by this movie include:
- The Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggested thirteen years ago that dental amalgams could account for up to 75 percent of a person’s daily mercury exposure. There is approximately 1,000 mg of mercury in the typical silver amalgam filling, nearly one million times more mercury than is present in contaminated sea food.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that between 3-17 micrograms of mercury are released daily into the body by stimulating the filling through chewing, brushing and grinding, compared to only 2-5 micrograms from fish and all other environmental sources combined. An editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine also stated that dental amalgams were “possibly the chief source of exposure [to mercury] of a large segment of the U.S. population”. As shocking as it is, Americans and Europeans actually have more mercury in their mouths than exists in all manmade products combined – estimated at more than 1,000 tons. More than 180 million Americans of all ages host a total of 1.46 billion restored teeth, and the vast majority of those restorations are silver amalgams containing mercury. This measures out to about 75 percent of adults being exposed daily through silver amalgam fillings.
- The 2nd largest mercury polluters in the U.S. are dental practices. As a result of their continued use of mercury amalgam fillings, another 29.7 tons of mercury is discharged into the air, water and soil each year from installation and removal of amalgams. Mercury coming from dental offices is reported to be the largest source of mercury found in wastewater today. According to an article authored by Michael Bender (co-founder of the Mercury Policy Project), at least 40 percent of mercury streaming into public water treatment plants starts out in the dental office. And wastewater treatment plants are not set up to remove mercury, so it ends up in waterways and oceans where it contaminates marine life before cycling back into the food chain and ending up on your dinner plate. Ultimately, when you consider the costs associated with environmental cleanup dental amalgams are actually the most costly type of dental fillings on the market – in terms of environmental damage and harm to living organisms, including humans.
And a point of our own:
- Amalgams found in cadavers also post a risk to the environment. Emissions from the combustion of mercury fillings during the cremation process act as a major contaminator of air, waterways, soil, wildlife and food.
No less than 7-9 metric tons of mercury seeps into the atmosphere annually during the cremation process. As a result, it is expected that by the year 2020 the cremation of human remains will be the largest single cause of mercury pollution. And, it all started in the dental office.
Mercury Amalgams are not as cheap as dentists would like you to think
Amalgam fillings contain more mercury than any other product sold in America. And they are highly profitable to a dentist, which explains why it is so difficult to get them to use healthier composite products. Dentists can install amalgam fillings much faster than many composite fillings, and once installed they keep the patient coming back for repairs (due to the damaging effects of metal fillings on the structure of the tooth).
The average “amalgam” filling is typically a mixture of silver, copper, tin and zinc with an equal amount of mercury (up to 50 percent mercury). Fillings naturally deteriorate over time, leaching the various metal components into the body in the process and they react to substances such as acid in the mouth, causing the filling to deteriorate even more rapidly. The deteriorating vapor then enters the body and is subsequently inhaled into the lungs where it is absorbed into the blood stream. Likewise, as we eat, mercury is incorporated into food, is then swallowed and digested and absorbed into the bloodstream where it is distributed to more vulnerable tissues and organs. Mercury vapors readily pass through cell membranes, across the blood-brain barrier and into the central nervous system, where it causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems. Children and fetuses, whose brains are still developing, are most at risk, but virtually anyone exposed to mercury in this way is at risk.
Aspiring dentists continue to be taught that the mercury in amalgams is “bound” with the other metals and therefore doesn’t leak, which is why 50 percent of them continue to believe mercury amalgam use is safe. However, by the fact that mercury vapor can be measured at all as it seeps away from the tip of the root is absolute proof that amalgam fillings can and do leach mercury poisons into the body.
Striving for change
The Mercury Undercover website suggests specific goals and objectives that need to be addressed to stop silver mercury amalgam use in America:
- Disclose mercury and end the “silver deception”; stop the ADA/dental board gag rule Inform consumers and dentists of the massive environmental harm caused by amalgam Make dentists (preferably those who perpetuate the use of mercury laced amalgams) pay for the massive harm to the environment; this would make the amalgam cost-prohibitive
- Ban amalgam for children and pregnant women Introduce ART (Atraumatic restorative treatment), a safe, low-cost dental filling material that requires only hand instruments to install, and can even be done by a dental hygienist
- End amalgam primacy in insurance plans
All of these points are excellent suggestions and honorable objectives. If you would like to help, The Consumers for Dental Choice has launched a worldwide Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry which outlines specific actions you can take on local, state, and national levels. Just visit their website to get started. They also suggest:
- If you are not already seeing a mercury-free dentist, ask your dentist to switch to mercury-free dentistry.
- If you work for a company that covers dental fillings, ask if they will cover composites or ART or other alternatives to amalgam.
- If you know your Mayor or a member of your City or Town Council, consider asking if they will do what some California cities are doing: pass a resolution calling for an end to amalgam and a request that dentists in your town stop using amalgam.
- And, write the Director of FDA’s Center for Devices, Jeff Shuren, firstname.lastname@example.org Ask Dr Shuren why FDA continues to ignore the scientists and covers up the mercury from American parents and consumers. Ask when FDA is going to get in step with the world on mercury.
Dr. Jeff Shuren, Director
Center for Devices, U.S. Food & Drug Admin.
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
WO66-5431, Room 5442
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002