In addition to health and ethics issues, opponents to dental amalgam fillings point to the negative externalities of water contamination and environmental damage of mercury. This concern is especially worrisome since its use and disposal by dentists goes largely unregulated in many places, including the United States. The WHO (World Health Organization) reports that mercury from amalgam and laboratory devices accounts for 53% of total mercury emissions. Separators may dramatically decrease the release of mercury into the public sewer system, where dental amalgams contribute one-third of the mercury waste,but they are not required by most states in the United States.
Pregnant women are told to avoid eating some types of seafood, specifically, large, predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish which may contain high levels of mercury. The concern centers on the health effects of toxicity or allergy which may be associated with constant mercury exposure, particularly as an alleged cause of chronic illnesses, autoimmune disorders, birth defects, oral lesions, and mental disorders. The famous saying “mad as a hatter” was derived from the hat makers that developed severe mercury poisoning which resulted in serious neurological symptoms.
Scientists agree that dental amalgam fillings leach mercury into the mouth, but studies vary widely in the amount and whether such amount presents significant health risks. The effects of that amount of exposure is also disputed, currently dental amalgam is approved for use in most countries, although Norway, Denmark and Sweden are notable exceptions. Recently California
It is important to know the stance that your dentist takes on this topic. If you are someone who is passionate or curious about mercury free dentistry, there is a great site to visit. www.mercuryfreedentists.com I find it helpful to know that there are many dentists that have made a commitment to avoiding the use of mercury entirely. I am often asked by patients throughout the United States to help them find a “good” dentist, one they can trust in both good work and good ethics. It may take some homework, but finding someone who aligns with your belief system is the most important factor that I can think of!