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Gesundheitswesen. 2005 Mar;67(3):204-16.

[Amalgam risk assessment with coverage of references up to 2005].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Institut für Umweltmedizin und Krankenhaushygiene, Universitätsklinik Freiburg. joachim.mutter@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Abstract

Amalgam, which has been in use in dentistry for 150 years, consists of 50 % elemental mercury and a mixture of silver, tin, copper and zinc. Minute amounts of mercury vapour are released continuously from amalgam. Amalgam contributes substantially to human mercury load. Mercury accumulates in some organs, particularly in the brain, where it can bind to protein more tightly than other heavy metals (e. g. lead, cadmium). Therefore, the elimination half time is assumed to be up to 1 - 18 years in the brain and bones. Mercury is assumed to be one of the most toxic non-radioactive elements. There are pointers to show that mercury vapour is more neurotoxic than methyl-mercury in fish. Review of recent literature suggests that mercury from dental amalgam may lead to nephrotoxicity, neurobehavioural changes, autoimmunity, oxidative stress, autism, skin and mucosa alterations or non-specific symptoms and complaints. The development of Alzheimer's disease or multiple sclerosis has also been linked to low-dose mercury exposure. There may be individual genetical or acquired susceptibilities for negative effects from dental amalgam. Mercury levels in the blood, urine or other biomarkers do not reflect the mercury load in critical organs. Some studies regarding dental amalgam reveal substantial methodical flaws. Removal of dental amalgam leads to permanent improvement of various chronic complaints in a relevant number of patients in various trials. Summing up, available data suggests that dental amalgam is an unsuitable material for medical, occupational and ecological reasons.

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PMID:
15789284
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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