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Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Mar;115(3):440-6. Epub 2006 Oct 30.

Dental amalgam restorations and children's neuropsychological function: the New England Children's Amalgam Trial.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A concern persists that children's exposure to mercury vapor from dental amalgams produces neurotoxicity.

OBJECTIVE:

Our goal was to compare the neuropsychological function of children, without prior exposure to dental amalgam, whose caries were repaired using either dental amalgam or mercury-free composite materials.

METHODS:

We conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 534 6- to 10-year-old urban and rural children who were assessed yearly for 5 years using a battery of tests of intelligence, achievement, language, memory, learning, visual-spatial skills, verbal fluency, fine motor function, problem solving, attention, and executive function.

RESULTS:

Although the mean urinary mercury concentration was greater among children in the amalgam group than the composite group (0.9 vs. 0.6 microg/g creatinine), few significant differences were found between the test scores of children in the two groups. The differences found were inconsistent in direction. Analyses using two cumulative exposure indices--surface years of amalgam and urinary mercury concentration--produced similar results.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exposure to elemental mercury in amalgam at the levels experienced by the children who participated in the trial did not result in significant effects on neuropsychological function within the 5-year follow-up period.

PMID:
17431496
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1849920
Free PMC Article
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