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From the international Amalgam Mailing list :
IV. Health Effects from Dental Personnel Exposure to Mercury Vapor
1. Dentists and dental personnel who work with amalgam are chronically
exposed to mercuryvapor.
Studies note that carpeting in dental offices should be avoided as it is a
major repository of mercury.
Mercury levels in urine of dental personnel average about 2 times that of
controls(123,124,171,249) and was 43 nmol/liter for a population surveyed in
Sweden(171), which is above the Swedish occupational exposure guideline.
2. Drilling old amalgam fillings with only a saliva extractor and no other
precautions produces mercury vapor levels 2 to 15 times occupational
threshold limit values(30 micrograms/cubic meter)[120,219].
3. The average dental office exposure affects the body mercury level
approximately the same as having 19 amalgam fillings[123,124,173].
Dentists were found to score significantly worse than a comparable control
group on neurobevaioral tests of motor speed, visual scanning, visuomotor
coordination, concentration, verbal memory, visual memory, and visuomotor
4. Both dental hygienists and patients get high doses of mercury vapor when
dental hygienists polish or use ultrasonic scalers on amalgam surfaces(240).
Pregnant women or pregnant hygienist especially should avoid these
practices during pregnancy or while nursing since maternal mercury exposure
has been shown to affect the fetus and to be related to birth defects, SIDS,
etc. (38,61) and breast milk contains up to 6 times higher mercury than in
the mother's blood(20).
5. Body burden increases with time and older dentists have median mercury
urine levels about 4 times those of controls, as well as higher brain and
body burdens(13,34, 70-74,122]. Some older dentists have mercury levels
in some parts of the brain as much as 80 times higher than normal
6. Dentists and dental personnel experience significantly higher levels of
neurological, memory, musculoskeletal, mood, and behavioral problems, which
increase with years of exposure(13,34,49, 69-74,88,122,188,246,247,248,249].
7. Female dental technicians who work with amalgam have significantly
reduced fertility and lowered probability of conception(3,24,38, 121], and
their children have significantly lower average IQ compared to the general
population(13). The level of mercury excreted in urine is
significantly higher for female dental assistants than
dentists(171,172,173,247). Several dental assistants have been diagnosed
with mercury toxicity and some have died of related health
8. Many homes of dentists have been found to have high levels of mercury
contamination used by dentists bringing it home on shoes and clothes.
9. Some studies have found increased risk of lung, kidney, brain, and CNS
system cancers among dental workers(14,34, 143].
10. Autopsies of former dental staff found levels of mercury in the
pituitary gland averaged over 10 times that of controls(99), as well as
higher levels in the occipital cortex and renal cortex and thyroid.
1. Sandra Denton MD; Proceedings of the First International Conference on
3. Gordon - Pregnancy in Female Dentists- a Mercury Hazard. Proceedings of
Intl conference on Mercury Hazards in Dental Practice Sept. 2-4 Glasgow
6 Schulein,T.M.; Reinhardt, J.W. and Chan K.C. Survey of Des Moines area
dental offices for Mercury vapour. Iowa Dent. J. 70(1):35-36 1984
7 JonesDW, Sutton EJ, and Milner EL Survey of Mercury vapour in dental
offices in Atlantic Canada.Can. Dent. Assoc. J. 4906:378-395, 1983
8.Miller RW and Ochua;. Report on independant survey taken of Austin dental
offices for mercury contamination. Texas Dent. J. 100(1):6-9, 1983
9 Kantor,L. and Woodcock C, Mercury vapour in the dental office- does
carpeting make a difference? JADA103(9):402-407,1981
10 Skuba, A. Survey for Mercury vapour in Manitoba dental offices J Can.
Dent.Assoc. 50(7):517-522, 1984
11 Chop GF. and Kaufman EG. Mercury vapour related to manipulation of
amalgam and to floor surfaces.Oper. Dent. 8(1):23-27,1983
12 RoydhouseRH. FergMR . and Knox RP. Mercury in dental offices J Can Dent
Assoc 51(2):156-158, 1985
13 Butler J. Proceedings from the First International Conference of
14 Magnus Nylander, Mercury Concentrations in the human brain and kidneys
in relaton to exposure from dental amalgam fillings ICBM 1988
20 Vimy,MJ,Takahashi,Y, Lorscheider,FL Maternal -Fetal Distribution of
Mercury Released From Dental Amalgam Fillings. Dept of Medicine and
Medical Physiology , faculty of Medicine, Univ of Calgary,
Calgary Alberta Cannada 24 BrodskyJB. Occupational exposure to Mercury in
dentistry and pregnancy outcome. JADA111(11):779-780., 1985
32 Jonnes, Suttow and Milner. Survey of Mercury vapour in dental offices in
Atlantic Canada, Canadian Dental Association Journal .,
34. Patrick Störtebecker, Associate Professor of Neurology, Karolinska
Institute , Stockholm.. Mercury Poisoning from Dental amalgam- a
hazard to the human brain. Bio-Probe, Inc. ISBN: 0-941011001-1 &
Neurology for Barefoot Doctors, Stortebecker Foundation for
35 Hal Huggins. Its All in Your Head, 1994.
36 Sam Queen; Chronic Mercury Toxicity: New Hope Against an Endemic
Disease. Bio-Probe Books
38 Ziff S. and Ziff M. Infertility and Birth Defects: Is Mercury from Dental
Fillings a Hidden Cause?, Bio-Probe, Inc. ISBN: 0-941011-03-8.1987
49 Amalgam Hazards - an assesment of research By Irwin Mandel DDS Assoc.
Dean for Research School of dental and Oral Surgery Columbia University
New York Published JADA Vol. 122 August 1991
61 Dr Gustav Drasch, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Munich.
Public anouncement, 25 January 1994 Bio Probe March 1994; & "Mercury
burden of human fetal and infant tissues", Euro.J.
Pediatrics,153(8): Spring 1994, p607-610.
(69)D Gonzalez-Ramirez et al; "Uninary mercury, porphyrins, and
neurobehavioral changes of dental workers in Monterrey, Mexico", J
Pharmocology and Experimental Therapeutics,, 272(1):
(70) N.J. Heyer et al, "Behavioral Effects of Low Level Exposure to HgO
Among Dentists", Neurotoxicology & Teratology; 17(2):161-168(1995).
(71)S.C.Foo et al, "Neurobehavioral effects in Occupational Chemical
Exposure",Environmental Research, 60(2): 267-273, 1993.
(72)D.L.Smith,"Mental effects of mercury poisoning",South Med J
71:904-5,1978. (73)RT McNerney et al, "Mercury Contamination in the Dental
Office: A Review", NYS Dental Journal, Nov 1979, p457-458.
(74) D.G. Mantyla et al, "Mercury toxicity in the dental office: a neglected
problem", JADA, 92:1189-1194, 1976.
88) M.Godfrey et al, Confirmation of mercury retention and toxicity using
DMPS", J Advance Med 7(1):19-30, 1994.
(99) M.Nylander et al, Mercury accumulation in tissues drom dental staff and
controls", Swedish Dental Journal, 13:235-243, 1989.
(120) L.Pohl, "The dentist's exposure to elemental mercury during clinical
work", Acta Odontol Scand,v53,n1,p44-48,1995.
(121)A.S.Rowland et al,"The Effect of Occupational Exposure to mercury vapor
on the fertility of female dental assistants",Occup Environ Med,