What Wi-Fi Can Do to “Silver” Amalgam Fillings

WiFi iconSure, Wi-Fi is super convenient and cost effective and everywhere. In fact, though plenty of us can remember life before it, it’s increasingly hard to imagine life without it.

But a Wi-Fi world is not without consequences, such as its effect on mercury amalgam “silver” fillings.

One of the latest studies on this was published last summer in the Journal of Environmental Science & Engineering.

Researchers had amalgam fillings placed in 20 extracted premolars, which were then put in tubes with artificial saliva. Half the teeth were placed in an environment without Wi-Fi exposure; the rest were exposed to 20 minutes of radiation from standard Wi-Fi devices.

After exposure, the artificial saliva was tested for mercury. The teeth that were exposed to radiation released more than twice as much mercury as those in the control group. The authors thus concluded that, although much more research remains to be done,

Exposure of patients with amalgam restorations to radiofrequency radiation emitted from conventional Wi-Fi devices can increase mercury release from amalgam restorations.

That mercury, a potent neurotoxin, is then free to enter the circulation and do its well-known damage.

Other research has likewise suggested that radiofrequency radiation from a wide variety of sources may accelerate mercury release from amalgams. For instance, a 2014 paper in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found more mercury in the urine of those who had an MRI after getting mercury fillings placed, compared with those who got just the fillings but no MRI.

Another MRI study compared 240 surfaces on 60 teeth with amalgams and found that “specimens exposed to MRI exhibited significantly higher microleakage values than control specimens.”

Cell phone radiation has likewise been found to increase mercury release from amalgams. In one study, for instance, half of participants were exposed to mobile phone use for four days after getting amalgams placed, 15 minutes each day. Notably, none of the participants were cell phone users at the time of the study and none had mercury fillings already in their mouths.

Our study demonstrated an elevation of mercury level released from dental amalgam fillings after exposure to microwave radiation emitted form mobile phones.

Such research gives all the more reason to talk with a mercury-free, mercury-safe biological dentist about metal-free, biocompatible alternatives.

The Future of Dentistry Is Mercury-Free

no mercuryThis week marks the 7th anniversary of the Mercury Awareness Week, a joint campaign by Dr. Mercola and Consumers for Dental Choice, the organization leading the fight against the use of mercury amalgam in dentistry.

Our office has proudly been mercury-free – and mercury-SAFE! – for many years now. Through that time, we’ve seen more and more practices turn away from amalgam, too. Just a few decades ago, only 3% of American dentists were mercury-free. Today, more than half are.

More, we now have the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty that went into effect just last week. Among other measures to stop the use of mercury in consumer products and industry, it requires member countries to begin phasing out dental mercury – a provision fought for by Consumers for Dental Choice. And that’s just the latest milestone in the movement toward mercury-free dentistry.

  • 1800s: Mercury-based amalgam fillings are introduced.

  • 1830s: Dentists express concern about the health risks of filling teeth with mercury.

  • 1845: The first US professional association of dentists, the American Society of Dental Surgeons (ASDS), makes its members sign a pledge not to use amalgam. They considered its use malpractice.

  • 1850s: A group of pro-amalgam dentists abandons the ASDS and forms the organization today known as the American Dental Association, which continues to endorse mercury amalgam.

  • 1920s and 30s: German chemist Alfred Stock’s research on mercury toxicity revives interest in amalgam research.

  • 1970s: There is another surge in amalgam research, while Dr. Hal Huggins begins his very vocal campaign against dental amalgam. In 1985, he publishes the first edition of It’s All in Your Head: Diseases Caused by Silver-Mercury Fillings.

  • 1996: Consumers for Dental Choice is founded with the ultimate goal to “phase out the use of amalgam…worldwide.”

  • 1997: Sweden officially announces a ban on mercury amalgam, but it doesn’t pass EU administration until 2008. Norway bans amalgam in 2008, as well.

  • 2013: The Minamata Convention on Mercury treaty is signed.

  • 2016: A new EPA rule requires all dental offices that routinely handle amalgam to install separators to keep mercury out of the water supply. Although the rule is temporarily rolled back in early 2017, it is soon reinstated and takes effect come summer.

Learn more about the march toward mercury-free dentistry:

Yet for all the progress, we still have a long way to go. Find out how you can get involved in turning the promise of a mercury-free future into a reality.

When It Comes to Fillings, “Silver” Is Not So Much Silver

A silver filling sounds a little like a piece of bling put in your mouth, right? But a more truthful name for it is “mercury filling.” The amalgam – a mixture of metals – such fillings are made of is actually about 50% mercury, a known neurotoxin.

Despite the dangers, false labeling and euphemistic language have made it possible for dental patients to be put at risk unawares. This month, a new Zogby poll for Consumers for Dental Choice reported that 57% of Americans do not know that mercury is the main ingredient in amalgams. This isn’t so surprising when you consider that only 11% said their dentist had informed them about what their “silver” fillings would be made of.

Think about it: 89% of people were not granted the right of informed consent – the right to say yea or nay to a particular treatment once they are explained its risks and benefits.

And it gets worse. Americans making under $50,000/year are three times less likely to be told by their dentist that their amalgam fillings contain mercury. And a miniscule 6% of African-Americans report getting this critical information.

mercury amalgam fillings in molarsWomen are also less likely to be informed than men – a fact which has some scary implications. For women of childbearing age, it’s not just her own health that’s at stake but that of any children she may conceive once the fillings have been placed. Children may experience tremors, vision and hearing impairments, developmental delays, autism… the list goes on.

Decisions about your health or your child’s health shouldn’t just be handed over to your dentist, however educated and well-intentioned he or she may be. You deserve to have all the information possible before you make a decision.

Unfortunately, the report found that 63% of patients do not believe that their dentists give them enough information about alternative restorative materials such as composite.

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the FDA do not require dentists to talk to their patients about mercury, so dentists do not have legal incentives to make mercury dangers well-known. Moreover,

The FDA’s willingness to allow the dental industry to use the term “silver fillings” and blatantly misrepresent a product that’s primarily mercury has measurably misled Americans. As a policy, it flies in the face of one of the agency’s primary reasons for being: to protect consumers by preventing companies from misbranding and mislabeling heath care products.

Because of this, 55% of Americans would like to see governmental legislation that would require dentists to inform their patients.

For now, you often have to educate yourself. A few excellent sources of information on the health effects of mercury amalgam fillings:

TAKE ACTION!: Consumers for Dental Choice has launched a petition drive to get Secretary of State John Kerry to help bring the FDA in line with State Department policy since the US signed the global mercury treaty known as the Minamata Convention. Please take a moment to sign and share it through social media or email. The petition is available here.

Image by Enzo Carretta

Getting the Mercury Out? “A No-Brainer”

A 2009 British TV program on the dangers of dental mercury:

We’re proud to offer mercury-free, mercury-safe dentistry here in our Arlington office. Learn more…