mercury

Millions of Americans at risk from dental mercury, report says

Thursday, January 27, 2011 by: Aaron Turpen
Tags: mercury, dental, health news

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(NaturalNews) A new risk assessment, prepared for the Parker-Hannifin Foundation by SNC-Lavalin Environment, warns that mercury from dental fillings (called amalgams or "silver" fillings) is exposing 67.2 million Americans to toxic levels exceeding EPA standards.1 The report was submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) as part of testimony for the hearings regarding amalgam fillings.2

The assessment shows that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rules for mercury exposure (called the Reference Exposure Level, or REL), established in 1995, are far exceeded by a huge population of Americans due to mercury fillings. Amalgam fillings are 50% mercury and are a danger to both dental care providers3 and their patients. They are also a danger, it has been shown, to patients with the fillings, even long after they've been installed in the mouth.4

The December hearings by the FDA (December 14-15) considered the science related to mercury exposure health risks from dental amalgam fillings. Mercury-based dental fillings have already been banned in Norway and Sweden. The assessment from Parker-Hannifin states that mercury exposures from dental fillings are the primary means of non-occupational exposures in the public - more so than through seafood.

Currently, in the U.S., 181.1 million Americans of all ages carry 1.46 billion restored teeth. Using past data and available information on dental practice, the report concludes that the vast majority of these are mercury-based amalgams. Because exact data is unavailable, the assessment used four scenarios to calculate total risks.

The first scenario is for all restored tooth surfaces and assumed no materials other than 50% mercury amalgams were used. This acted as the base measurement for the other three scenarios. The second scenario took the totals from Scenario 1 and subtracted five surfaces as being non-amalgam. The third assumed only 50% of restorations were with amalgams, and the fourth assumed 30% of people from Scenario 1 had no amalgams and that five of each of the remaining people's tooth surfaces were non-amalgam and that 50% of the remaining restored tooth surfaces were amalgams. The scenarios thus create a worst-case to best-case series of assumptions.

The best-case option, Scenario 4, still shows 67.2 million Americans are over-exposed to mercury by EPA standards (REL of 0.3ug/m3). This would also mean that 122.3 million Americans would exceed the California Environmental Protection Agency's standard (REL of 0.03ug/m3). The RELs for the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Canadian Federal Department of Health fall in between the EPA and CEPA standards.

The breakdown of data from the Parker-Hannifin report shows that, again in Scenario 4, toddlers in the U.S. have 379,004 fillings, 45.2% of which exceed EPA standards for mercury exposure. Children and teens make up another 19 million (roughly) with about 30% of them exceeding exposure standards. Children are less likely to have cavities and more likely to have non-mercury fillings. In adults and seniors, the total number of mercury-based fillings are in about 103 million people with roughly 60% of them exceeding mercury toxicity standards.

After the hearings in December, the FDA has promised a final ruling on mercury fillings sometime in 2011.

Resources:
1 - Amalgam Risk Assessments 2010, IAOMT website with links to both assessments by G. Mark Richarson, PhD, et al, SNC-Lavalin Environment.

2 - FDA to Review Safety of Mercury Fillings, The Weston Price Foundation, The Epoch Times (Sept. 28, 2010)

3 - Mercury: The Silent Epidemic is Killing American Dental Professionals, Part I, Part II, Part III by Aaron Turpen, NaturalNews (Aug., 2010)

4 - Mercury Dental Fillings: What the FDA and the ADA are not Telling You by Aaron Turpen, Natural News (June 16, 2010)

Special thanks to Dr. Richardson for forwarding his assessments to the author.


About the author

Aaron Turpen is a professional writer living in Wyoming in the USA. His blogs cover organic/sustainable living and environmental considerations (AaronsEnvironMental.com) and the science debunking mainstream medical and proving alternatives (HiddenHealthScience.com).

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