When patients need to do a mercury detox in my office most of them are aware that mercury is contained in some of the fish we eat and from metallic dental fillings. Mercury is also contained in some of the products we use at home and in schools. And when exposed mercury at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. When affecting the brain, symptoms may include impairment of vision; disturbances in sensations ("pins and needles" feelings); lack of coordination; impairment of speech, hearing, walking; and muscle weakness. When it is breathed in as a vapor where it is absorbed through the lungs symptoms include tremors, emotional changes, insomnia, weakness, muscle atrophy, twitching, headaches, disturbances in sensations, changes in nerve responses, and performance deficits on tests of cognitive function. Recent human biological monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999-2002 shows that most people have blood mercury levels below a level associated with possible health effects.
When coal is burned, mercury is released into the environment. Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions to the air in the United States, accounting for over 40 percent of all domestic human-caused mercury emissions. Burning hazardous wastes, producing chlorine, breaking mercury products, and spilling mercury, as well as the improper treatment and disposal of products or wastes containing mercury, can also release it into the environment. Recycling of mercury-containing products is one of the best ways to help prevent mercury releases to the environment by keeping these products out of landfills and incinerators. We can also contribute by not buying mercury containing products. For a complete list of products that contain mercury you can go to this link of the EPA.
Mercury in the air eventually settles into water or onto land where it can be washed into water. Once deposited, certain microorganisms can change it into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish. Fish and shellfish are the main sources of methylmercury exposure to humans. Methylmercury builds up more in some types of fish and shellfish than others. The levels of methylmercury in fish and shellfish depend on what they eat, how long they live and how high they are in the food chain.
Yet the mercury found in amalgam fillings has raised some safety concerns over the years. Amalgam can release small amounts of mercury vapor over time, and patients can absorb these vapors by inhaling or ingesting them. To see a video on how sensitive the amalgam filling is to releasing mercury vapor Click Here.
Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is little scientific evidence that the health of the vast majority of people with dental amalgam is compromised, nor that removing amalgam fillings has a beneficial effect on health. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consumer update on dental amalgam advises, as a precaution, that pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure should discuss DENTAL TREATMENT options with their health care practitioner.
If you do need to get a cavity filled there are other options you can ask your dentist about that include:
Also you should be aware of the less known sources of mercury that include:
fluorescent light bulbs
necklaces and other jewelry