The FDA has long denied any harm from amalgam (mercurybased) dental fillings but a new study cites FDA data to demonstrate the fact that dental amalgam may indeed cause mercury poisoning in genetically susceptible children. The finding arises from a reanalysis of a key clinical trial cited by FDA as evidence for the safety of amalgams (BioMetals February 2014, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 19-24). The report asserts that mercury vapor from dental amalgam appears to contribute significantly to mercury body burden, and that this exposure appears sufficient to cause harm to susceptible individuals. Finally, the report notes that many Americans with amalgams are exposed to unsafe levels of mercury vapor according to well-established regulatory standards. The FDA and the American Dental Association (ADA) base their claims of safety largely on the results of two randomized, controlled, clinical trials on amalgam, which are known as the Children’s Amalgam Trials. The initial results, reported in 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed no significant difference between the children who received amalgam fillings and those who received resin composite fillings in terms of group-average measures of brain function. Contrary results were observed in 2011 by an independent team that reanalyzed in more detail the longer of the two clinical trials. The investigators divided the amalgam group into high, medium, and low amalgam exposure. This refinement revealed biomarkers of known metabolic harm, called porphyrins, that were associated with higher levels of amalgam. A further reanalysis found that boys who had a common genetic variant, in addition to more exposure to mercury, experienced measurable brain deficits, particularly attention deficit. In addition, from 2011 to 2013, a total of four separate reanalyses have revealed several measures of biological harm to children in a clinical trial lasting seven years. According to lead author, Kristin Homme, “We’re concerned because mercury appears to be the most biochemically plausible explanation for many mysterious conditions, from developmental disorders to neurodegenerative conditions.”
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2014.