Consumer Group Calls for Ban on Mercury Fillings

Echoing the concerns I've been voicing for some time, consumer activists are pressing the FDA for at least a partial ban on the use of silver amalgam fillings for cavities, because they contain toxic mercury. Their request comes despite a recent FDA determination that mercury fillings don't harm patients, except in cases where they have allergic reactions.

However, the facts speak quite clearly. Silver amalgam fillings contain 50 percent mercury, and mercury vapor is released into the body when you chew and brush your teeth. It's known that significant levels of mercury exposure can lead to brain and kidney damage, and harm fetuses and growing children. Studies have found people with these fillings can have mercury vapor concentrations 10 times higher than those in people without them, and that mercury levels in the blood, urine and body tissues rise the more mercury fillings a person has.

Further, 95 percent of people with disorders of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, paralysis and migraines have mercury-containing fillings. So the consumer group's call for at least a partial ban, and an immediate ban for pregnant women and children, is a wise move.

Personally, I don't believe silver amalgam fillings should be used, and I strongly advise patients to remove them. However, I only recommend having them removed by an experienced biological dentist, otherwise you risk having more mercury deposited in your brain when the fillings are drilled out.

Washington Post September 7, 2006