Dental amalgam safety has been debated since the use of this dental material began over 150 years ago, and much of the debate has centered on the mercury in these fillings. Differentiating between the myths and truth about this controversial dental material helps to demonstrate that mercury fillings are harmful to both people and the environment.
The kind of mercury in dental amalgam fillings is safe. Only methylmercury in fish is known to be harmful.=NOT TRUE, MYTH
The truth is that the type of mercury used in amalgam fillings is elemental (metallic) mercury, which is the same type of mercury used in certain types of thermometers (many of which have been banned). All forms of mercury are dangerous, and exposure to mercury, even in minute amounts, is known to be toxic and poses significant risks to human health.
A 2005 World Health Organization report warned of mercury: “It may cause harmful effects to the nervous, digestive, respiratory, immune systems and to the kidneys, besides causing lung damage. Adverse health effects from mercury exposure can be: tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia, emotional instability, developmental deficits during fetal development, and attention deficit and developmental delays during childhood. Recent studies suggest that mercury may have no threshold below which some adverse effects do not occur.”
…but “such and such organization or dentist” says that dental amalgam mercury fillings are safe.
It is essential to know that alleged dental amalgam safety is currently being successfully challenged with new science, and new actions are being taken against mercury by authorities around the globe. In 2017, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s global, legally-binding mercury treaty, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, entered into force as a means to protect people and the environment. It includes initiatives to phase-down the use of dental amalgam. Some individual countries have already banned dental mercury amalgam, and the European Union is considering a ban by 2030. The U.S. EPA utilized measures in the Clean Water Act to develop standards for dental clinics to use amalgam separators so that dental mercury is not flushed down the drain and into the environment, and these standards went into effect in 2017.
Dental amalgam mercury and other forms of mercury are not safe for the environment, and countries who have banned dental mercury and other forms of mercury have only done so because of harm to the environment.=NOT TRUE, MYTH
The truth is that actions are being taken specifically to protect both people and the environment from the potential hazards of dental mercury. As a matter of fact, the United Nations Environment Programme clearly states: “The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury” [emphasis added]. Likewise, countries taking action against dental amalgam mercury fillings have demonstrated concerns about its impact on patients by limiting its use for all people or for specific subpopulations, especially pregnant women and children.
The mercury in dental amalgam fillings is safe because it is completely bound to the material (trapped in the fillings) and is not released.=NOT TRUE, MYTH
All dental amalgam restorations contain approximately 50% mercury, and reports and research are consistent that these fillings emit mercury, exposing dental patients, dental professionals, dental staff, and their fetuses to this known neurotoxin.
Additionally, in research published in 2011, Dr. G. Mark Richardson reported that more than 67 million Americans aged two years and older exceed the intake of mercury vapor considered “safe” by the U.S. EPA due to the presence of dental mercury amalgam fillings, whereas over 122 million Americans exceed the intake of mercury vapor considered “safe” by the California EPA due to their dental mercury amalgam fillings.
Dental amalgam is safe because there are no peer-reviewed journal articles demonstrating risk from dental mercury fillings.=NOT TRUE, MYTH
Whereas some groups have endorsed dental mercury, touted dental amalgam safety, and claimed that there are no peer-reviewed articles on its dangers, this is simply not the truth. Numerous peer-reviewed, scientific studies report risks associated with dental mercury amalgam fillings. In fact, over 200 scientific articles produced by a literature search on PubMed (through the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health) have been collected by the IAOMT. It should be noted that MEDLINE, of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, is the primary component of PubMed, and that the majority of journals included in MEDLINE are peer-reviewed.
If dental amalgam mercury fillings were not safe, then everyone who has them would be sick.=NOT TRUE, MYTH
Properly diagnosing “adverse health effects” related to dental mercury amalgam fillings is complicated by the fact that reactions can take years to manifest themselves and by the intricate list of potential responses to the substance, which include over 250 specific symptoms. Not all patients will experience the same symptom or combination of symptoms. Risk factors are very personalized. Click here to learn more about the symptoms of mercury poisoning.
All of these dentists are just trying to make money by telling people that they’re mercury-free and/or mercury-safe.=NOT TRUE, MYTH
The truth is that many of the individuals who have challenged dental amalgam safety and brought concerns about the mercury in these fillings to the attention of the public or government authorities, including dentists, have been ostracized and even attacked for taking a stance against mercury. Due to what many consider a “gag rule” by the ADA, mercury-free dentists have been disciplined, and even lost their licenses to practice– for practicing mercury-free dentistry, for advertising their mercury-free practices, for publishing articles, or for lecturing about mercury-free dentistry.
The IAOMT, a non-profit organization with public charity status, was created in 1984, and it has grown to over 800 active members in North America, with affiliated chapters in fourteen other countries. The profit that the IAOMT hopes to gain is that truth will triumph over the myth, leading to the end of dental amalgam mercury and the worldwide acceptance of safe, non-toxic dental products.
In this historic “Smoking Tooth” video, the IAOMT shows how mercury can be released from dental amalgam fillings.