Are Mercury Fillings Safe?

Mercury amalgams (fillings) have been a hot topic of discussion in the past few years. There seems to be two extremely opposite viewpoints: one maintains that mercury amalgams are toxic and lead to an array of health problems, while the other maintains that mercury amalgams are safe and any associated side effects are incidental.

The debate on the safety of amalgams has been going on since they were first introduced in the United States in 1833. In Germany, dentists who installed mercury amalgams were once called “quacks” since amalgams were called “quacksilber”. In 1926, a German physician named Dr. Alfred Stock demonstrated that mercury
vapor escaped from fillings and that this vapor could lead to serious health problems. This finding, however, was discounted for decades. The debate raged on into the 20th century, until in 1986 the
American Dental Association (ADA) publicly admitted that mercury vapor does escape from amalgams into the patient’s mouth.

Mercury amalgams are used in dentistry to repair cavities before they can deepen and lead to infection or death of the tooth. Amalgams usually contain a mixture of mercury, silver, copper, tin and zinc. When a mercury amalgam is removed from the mouth, it is considered hazardous waste, and strict governmental regulations are applied to its storage, handling and disposal. Dentists and dental technicians must take a number of safety precautions when installing and removing mercury amalgams for their health and safety.

It is estimated that the average mercury filling contains approximately 1,000 mg of mercury, while a fourfoot fluorescent bulb, which is considered hazardous waste when expired, contains approximately 22 mg of mercury.

Mercury is one of the most toxic metals—more toxic than lead. Historically, the expression “mad as a hatter” referred to mercury poisoning developed by hatters due to their exposure to mercuric chloride when making hats. The hatters would often develop mental illness as a result of high mercury exposure. In October 1998, all over-the-counter products containing mercury in the United States were removed from the shelves because their safety could not be proven.

Based on current scientific literature and manufacturer warnings, mercury amalgams may be far from safe. Studies have shown that mercury from fillings may leach into the gums or saliva due to acidity of the mouth. Amalgams also generate an electromagnetic field which can create currents within the mouth and lead to various health problems; this condition is known as galvanism. One of the world’s largest amalgam manufacturers lists the following potential side effects of mercury amalgams:

  • • Skin, eye, respiratory tract and mucous membrane irritation
  • • Kidney toxicity
  • • Nerve toxicity
  • • Skin and lung sensitization
  • • A temporary increase in blood and urine mercury concentration after installation or removal of amalgams
  • • Galvanic effect (galvanism) if placed near other amalgams

The same manufacturer also listed the following contraindications (any condition or disease where a treatment, drug or product should not be used) for the installation of mercury amalgams:

  • • Pregnant women
  • • Children aged 6 years or younger
  • • Severe kidney disease
  • • Near other amalgams of dissimilar metal composition
  • • Known allergies to amalgams

Studies have shown that the number of mercury amalgams a person has directly correlates to the amount of mercury in the brain. Mercury toxicity has been associated with a number of health concerns, including memory loss, chronic bad breath, gingivitis, irregular heartbeat, allergies, asthma, chronic headaches, kidney damage, anemia, fatigue, joint pain and many others. Prenatal mercury exposure may lead to developmental problems in children, such as motor function disorders, and language and memory difficulties. Mercury is also a concern in breast-feeding mothers, since mercury may cross into the breast milk.

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Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua

Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua, or Dr. JJ, as he is affectionately known, is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND), the Director of the Liberty Clinic and a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. He is also a researcher at Sick Kids Hospital (Toronto) and a published author.

You can read more of his work at

Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua

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  1. Anonymous says

    Those reading this article might be interested in hearing more on this subject this Friday, May 15 at 11 am ET on my blogtalk show: My guest will be Charles G. Brown, Counsel for Consumers for Dental Choice.

    Consumers for Dental Choice has been actively leading the fight to eradicate the use of mercury amalgam in dental fillings. The FDA will issue a classification ruling on mercury in late July. We’ll talk with Brown about how his organization, since 1996, has championed this fight to eliminate this toxin from being used in dental care.

  2. Anonymous says

    I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1981. 3 hospitalizations, 8 different medications including oral and intravenous chemotherapy for MS, experimental Plasmaphoresis, bedridden for 10 years, slurred speech and dying. I had my dental amalgam mercury “silver” fillings removed and guess what? All symptoms gradually disappeared, NO medication, NO relapses, NO symptoms, except this left me in a wheelchair! This is extremely unusual for MS people. Prior to mercury dental removal I had 1 to 3 relapses per year and haven’t had 1 relapse since removal in 1989.

    Amalgams contain 50% mercury, a poison and neuro-toxin and mercury vapors are released 24/7 every time a person chews, drinks hot liquids, brushes their teeth, etc. See “The Smoking Teeth” at

    Some web sites:,,,,,

    Some UTUBE Sites:



    This will hopefully help the public understand mercury poisoning.

  3. Phlys says

    Do you have any suggestions for someone who may have been exposed to mercury through nursing when he was 5 or 6 months old through his mother who had an old amalgam filling removed and a new put in? This dental work was done about 16 1/2 years ago and was done without a dental dam.

  4. Minerva says

    I have about 8 amalgan fillings that were done back in 1967, 4 were replaced about 5 years ago with white fillings, I still have 3 of those old fillings. so I could say I have them for over 40 years. The only health problems I have is allergies and Food allergies and a lot of migraines. Always feeling sleepy, like in the clouds, even though I slept a good amount of hours the night before. I don’t know if this could be related.

  5. Al says

    I had a problem with my tooth so I went to my dentist. In order to fix it he had to remove the mercury filling which was almost half of my tooth. This filling was put in when I was 6 years old…I’m now 53.
    I’ve had asthma since I can remember and recently emphazema
    (I’m a smoker) I know…I shouldn’t be smoking. My point is that over the last 7 months I have not been able to take a deep breath. Maybe once a day I could get one in if I was lucky.
    Today , after the filling was removed I felt weird….Very relaxed and taking deep breaths….not just once but all day…non stop.
    I started reading about the posioning from mercury and all the problems it can create and felt that I should write this comment so others can maybe benefit from it. I’m not sure if this is related to the fillings but I feel that it is

  6. Marty says

    I have finally found a Doctor who would test me for mercury poisoning and I am now waiting for the test results to come back. If in fact I find out that I have mercury poisoning, I will do everything in my power to expose the danger of silver fillings. I received them when I was a child and I am now 49 years old and most of that time I have suffered from; anemia, boils, acne, depression, anxiety, food allergies, vertigo, low thyroid, horrible cramps during my cycles due to cysts on my ovaries, I had a total hysterectomy due to a dermoid tumor, breast surgery due to fatty tissue near my breast bone, sinus surgery, gallbladder removed, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic constipation which lead to having my colon removed. The Doctor who removed it said my colon just didn’t work. I just started my dream job a year and 1/2 ago which requires a lot of memory and concentration skills and I find myself unable to concentrate or remember anything..and most of the time I find myself lost for words, unable to find the words to express myself in conversations. ..the words sometime are just not there and I find this to be most frustrating! My brain seems to be in a constant fog. IF my test comes back positive for mercury poisoning, what is the safest way to detox?

  7. Anonymous says

    I need 7 fillings which will all be silver mercury ones, I do not want this I really really don’t, it will cost £665 to get the White ones, I saw a documentary the other week about the poison and vapour it releases into the mouth 24/7 and side effects how terrifying, why do they allow this, why?
    I brought up the subject with my dentist and she just said there is no evidence of harm everyone walks around with it and everyone in America has them (I’m in London) I’m going to do research into this because it is crazy imagine what illness I would get if I had 7 more I already have 2 or 3. The comments I have read above scare me.

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