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Amalgam Debate 2

3/5 – Amalgam Debate: Science and Rhetoric

The claim that mercury ?is the most toxic non-radioactive element on earth? is miscued. About 80% of inhaled toxic mercury vapor is absorbed by the lungs and enters the bloodstream. Less goes into the bloodstream when mercury is ingested.

Arguments can be made justifying mercury?s high toxicity – and it is indeed, a very toxic substance.

However, it is difficult to compare mercury to other toxic elements in that it behaves very differently.

For example, arsenic and iodine are more toxic than mercury when ingested. This statement has a strong potential to be misleading.

Chemistry of Amalgam

Modern amalgams have gone through an evolution to improve their strength and handling. This included different ?phases? in the mixture.

However, difference in electrochemical potential between the regions of set amalgam results in crevice corrosion and breakdown of the material.

The amount of mercury released initially is also dependent on how the amalgam is formed. Once the amalgam is mixed and set, the restoration contains between 41% to 51% of mercury by weight. The amount of mercury depends on how, how long and the amount of delay between mixing and setting of the restoration.

Mercury can also be released slowly after placement. The amount increases during chewing or when drinking hot liquids. One study also found that acidic environments increased the amount of mercury released.

Studies have shown that amalgam bearers typically have mercury levels 3-6 times higher than amalgam-free controls with notable gender differences. Also, autopsy studies have been conducted showing mercury levels in adult brains correlate with the number of amalgam fillings.

The same correlation is seen of the mercury levels in human fetal and infant tissues with the number of maternal amalgam fillings.

The fact that mercury vapor escapes from amalgam and enters the body is no longer debated. The issue is how much enters and accumulates in the body and whether it is enough to harm some individuals.

For more information about whether your fillings are doing you harm, contact us at Image Dental.