Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mercury Madness

"Sadly, many people with mercury toxicity consult physicians who fail to identify the real cause of their illness and suffering."

  How does one explain the utter insanity of world governments, especially the United States, England, Australia, Japan, and China? Each in their own way seem irreversibly bent on destroying the habitability of Earth as rapidly as possible, generally out of willingness to accept an insane economic logic that places soul-crushing cubicle jobs, fossil fuel extraction and weapons manufacture not just on a par with, but above, real indicators of wealth -- such as soil fertility, water reserves, climate, biodiversity and health.

Surely there are plenty of advisers that tell world leaders that what has been defined as security is nothing remotely resembling real security and that what they seem determined to pursue will take us all over the cliff's edge and plunge first civilization and then humanity into extinction.

Why the confusion?

In 1983, Jerome Nriagu, a geochemist, wrote a book linking lead poisoning to the decline of the Roman empire. He described a syrup called defrutum or sapa, made and kept in lead pots, that was used to sweeten wine and food. He described drinking and bathing water carried in lead pipes and lead used for makeup and jewelry. He calculated the level of lead that wealthy Romans consumed and linked the findings to levels of the metal found in preserved bones. A 2014 follow-up study concluded that Roman tap water had 100 times the lead of nearby natural sources.

Lead is toxic to many organs and tissues, including the brain, heart, bones and kidneys. Symptoms include confusion, headaches, and irritability. Does this explain the fall of the Roman Empire? Probably not entirely, but brain poisoning may have contributed.

Since Nriagu's book, precautions have been taken to remove lead pipes from old water systems and to ban lead additives from paints and gasoline, but lead is not alone in posing these kinds of threats. We live in a soup of manufactured chemicals, few of which have been studied for their long-term public health consequences, especially in combinations. 

Recently, while in Belize, we happened to watch a film documentary on the life of Weston A.V. Price, an early 20th century dentist known primarily for his theories on the relationship between nutrition, dental health, and physical health. Price concluded nearly a century ago that aspects of a modern Western diet (particularly flour, sugar, and modern processed vegetable fats) lead to nutritional deficiencies that are a cause of many health problems.

Price is best known today for lending his name to the Weston A. Price Foundation, co-founded in 1999 by Sally Fallon and nutritionist Mary G. Enig to disseminate this vein of research and a libertarian agenda of promoting farm sales of raw milk and discouraging soy and corn processed foods. Little is mentioned of Price's campaign to ban the use of mercury in dentistry.

If you were to Google "mercury dental amalgam" as we recently did, among the top results would be a link to an official looking website for the National Council Against Health Fraud
(119 Foster Street, Bldg. R, 2nd Floor, Peabody, MA 01960 and its oft-read "Position Paper on Amalgam Fillings."

"The National Council Against Health Fraud believes that amalgam fillings are safe, that anti-amalgam activities endanger public welfare, and that so-called “mercury-free dentistry” is substandard practice."

To Consumers

• There is no logical reason to worry about the safety of amalgam fillings.
• Anyone told that a urine mercury level produced after taking DMPS represents a toxic state is being misled.
• Avoid health professionals who advise you that amalgam fillings cause disease or should be removed as a “preventive measure.”
• Report any such advice to the practitioner’s state licensing board.

To Dental Organizations
• Issue clear and forceful guidelines indicating that unnecessary amalgam removal is unethical and unprofessional and that the diagnosis of mercury toxicity is outside the proper scope of dentistry.
• Issue a position statement about dubious mercury testing

To Dental Licensing Boards

• Practice standards should be based solely on scientifically gathered objective evidence.
• Classify as unprofessional conduct any advice that amalgam fillings are dangerous and therefore should be avoided or removed.
• Ban the use of hair analysis and chelating agents by dentists.
• Ban any advertising of “mercury-free dentistry” which falsely implies that amalgam fillings are dangerous and should therefore be avoided or removed.

Further investigation reveals NCAHF is an astroturf outfit often at odds with Weston Price, and also fond of attacking the chiropractic profession and anyone associated with herbal, holistic or traditional approaches to healing.

Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen writes:

The NCAHF is operating out of a cardboard box in the back room of Bobbie Baratz's Braintree, MA hair removal salon, and has so little money, that Baratz begged members for cash, offering a picture of me (Tim Bolen) as an incentive for contribution.

Court documents show that Baratz and Barrett had set up this case (against chiropracters) to generate  "expert witness" fees for themselves.  Baratz is the current President of the NCAHF.  Barrett is a failed MD who operates the dubious website out of his basement in Allentown. PA.

Turning to actual science, we see that the subject of mercury poisoning from dental fillings (most commonly referred to as "silver fillings") is a very well-researched area, and the results are unsettling. 

Silver-mercury amalgam has been used as a filling material for 160 years and has enjoyed the reputation of being an inexpensive, long lasting solution to tooth decay, although the average life span of a silver-mercury amalgam filling is only around five years.

Amalgam literally means mixed with mercury and in the dental sense that is true. Powdered metals and metal compounds consisting of silver, copper, tin and zinc are mixed with about an equal weight of liquid mercury. Three different types of chemical reactions take place within this mixture and the resultant silver-mercury amalgam will set at room temperature and, most importantly, within a few minutes.

Up until recently, it was felt that the mercury stayed within the filling. Now it is known that mercury leaches out every minute of the day. Over the first two years after placement, amalgams release about 34 micrograms of mercury per square centimeter of filling exposed, per day.

A study by Richardson, et al, published in Science of The Total Environment revealed:

Dental amalgam is 50% metallic mercury (Hg) by weight and Hg vapour continuously evolves from in-place dental amalgam, causing increased Hg content with increasing amalgam load in urine, faeces, exhaled breath, saliva, blood, and various organs and tissues including the kidney, pituitary gland, liver, and brain. The Hg content also increases with maternal amalgam load in amniotic fluid, placenta, cord blood, meconium, various foetal tissues including liver, kidney and brain, in colostrum and breast milk. Based on 2001 to 2004 population statistics, 181.1 million Americans carry a grand total of 1.46 billion restored teeth. Children as young as 26 months were recorded as having restored teeth. Past dental practice and recently available data indicate that the majority of these restorations are composed of dental amalgam. Employing recent US population-based statistics on body weight and the frequency of dentally restored tooth surfaces, and recent research on the incremental increase in urinary Hg concentration per amalgam-filled tooth surface, estimates of Hg exposure from amalgam fillings were determined for 5 age groups of the US population. Three specific exposure scenarios were considered, each scenario incrementally reducing the number of tooth surfaces assumed to be restored with amalgam. Based on the least conservative of the scenarios evaluated, it was estimated that some 67.2 million Americans would exceed the Hg dose associated with the reference exposure level (REL) of 0.3 μg/m(3) established by the US Environmental Protection Agency; and 122.3 million Americans would exceed the dose associated with the REL of 0.03 μg/m(3) established by the California Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure estimates are consistent with previous estimates presented by Health Canada in 1995, and amount to 0.2 to 0.4 μg/day per amalgam-filled tooth surface, or 0.5 to 1 μg/day/amalgam-filled tooth, depending on age and other factors.

Chewing foods increases the emissions, dramatically. Every time you chew, mercury vapor is released and quickly finds its way into your bloodstream, where it causes oxidative processes in your tissues. Hot liquids, like coffee, increase the release by thousands of percent, but only for 10 or 15 minutes. Abrasion from chewing gum increases the release of mercury by 150 times.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, a fellow at the American College of Nutrition and member of the International Academy Biological Dentistry and Medicine, explains how mercury affects the body:
"Oxidation is one of the main reasons you develop disease, as well as the primary reason you age. Oxidation in your body leads to inflammation, including inflammation of the lining of your blood vessels. When this occurs, your LDL levels increase as your body attempts to "patch" those damaged vessel walls with cholesterol. LDL is a carrier of cholesterol. This is why people with mercury toxicity have damaged blood vessels, and elevated cholesterol and LDL levels.

"However, oxidation and toxicity can lead to much more than just elevated lipid levels. Mercury in your body can result in a variety of serious neurological, immunological, and endocrinological problems. Mercury not only fuels the flames of inflammation, it also hampers your body's ability to detoxify itself, which makes you even sicker. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurological diseases have been linked to mercury exposure. Research shows that traces of mercury can cause the type of nerve damage you usually see in Alzheimer's disease.

"Science is now telling us that mercury may very well be a significant factor underlying much chronic disease, and one about which the majority of physicians are completely unaware. It doesn't take much mercury to cause significant stresses in your body.

"Sadly, many people with mercury toxicity consult physicians who fail to identify the real cause of their illness and suffering. They are given bottle after bottle of pills, which merely mask some of the symptoms (at best) and create new imbalances within their bodies, without ever addressing the underlying cause of the problem. Not surprisingly, they fail to get better."

Mercury seen from NASA’s Messenger
spacecraft. Several times a year,
the planet appears to move
backward in the sky, though
it’s just an optical illusion:
Mercury in retrograde.
Half of all dentists in North America have broken away from the pack and stopped using amalgam, but the other half still resist, and will even try to dissuade you if you ask to have your fillings removed. They really don't understand that what they're doing is harmful. They don't question whether the training they worked so hard to get is wrong, and harming their patients.

In their 2014 study, published in journal PNAS, the scientists who studied lead residues in Roman water systems found eerie links in historic concentrations that corresponded to major events in Rome’s history, such as the Gothic Wars in 535CE, Byzantine repairs to Roman aqueducts, and the ninth century Arab sack of Rome. They concluded:

"The Pb [lead] isotope record shows that the discontinuities in the pollution of the Tiber by lead are intimately entwined with the major issues affecting Late Antique Rome and its water distribution system."

Are USAnian empire hawks crazier than their Roman counterparts, or is it just their teeth talking?
mercury dental filling
<img src="" alt="mercury dental filling" border="0" style="max-width:100%; min-width:300px; margin: 0 auto 20px auto; 


Eddie Tennison said...

As a practicing dentist who believes in paying attention to the evidence, I continue to be persuaded that dental amalgam poses little harm to patients, The actual peer reviewed literature supports this position. I might add that every alternative we have for filling teeth has a definable risk/benefit ratio, and that composite resin, which (at least in my area of the country) has already largely replaced amalgam as the filling material of choice, has its detractors, some of whom claim these plastic materials release BPA's. I would argue that the obvious enormous benefits that have accrued to multiple generations of people who have had their teeth restored, as opposed to being extracted due to dental caries, far outweighs any risks that were incurred as a consequence.

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