Mercury is probably the most toxic non-radioactive metal in the environment. It is a poison! It is highly toxic to humans and ANY AMOUNT is harmful to the cells and tissues of human beings, according to Roy B. Kupsinel, MD, author of A Patient's Guide to Mercury-Amalgam Toxicity - A Major Common Denominator of Degenerative Disease. The World Health Organization declared there is no safe level of mercury for human beings - in other words, mercury is so poisonous that no amount of mercury absorption is safe. (1992) Dental amalgams (fillings) are classified as a hazardous material by OSHA and recommend a "no-touch" technique in handling amalgams. A facemask should be used to avoid breathing amalgam dust, and hazardous waste instructions used for disposal!
On December 16, 1990, 60 MINUTES aired a program on dental mercury amalgam that brought the issue forcefully to public attention. In 1992, Germany banned the use of certain forms of amalgam. In December 1992, the American Medical Association passed a resolution advocating the elimination of mercury, and benzene from all household products, citing their harmful effect on the environment and on human health. (12/92). In August 1993, a Federal Court ruled that California's Proposition 65 is valid with regards to dental amalgam. This means that any dentist who has 10 or more employees must provide "clear and reasonable warning" to both employees and patients that amalgam is a potentially harmful substance. In February 1994, the Swedish parliament passed a bill banning all use of dental amalgam by 1997. On July 11, 1994, the BBC aired a 40-minute documentary on dental amalgam called "The Poison In Your Mouth." In early 1995, a legal brief was discovered filed by the American Dental Association in a civil lawsuit in Santa Clara, California that denies any responsibility for the safety of the general public when the public seeks and receives dental care! Practicing dentists are generally unaware that they have been inadequately informed about amalgam's toxic properties by their professional association.
Sources of Mercury
The toxicity of mercury is not only from the major source of dental amalgams, but is also found in a natural state in soil and has been processed and used in a wide variety of industrial applications from the manufacture of wood pulp to agricultural fungicides and pesticides. Other sources of mercury contamination are from pharmaceutical medicines including vaccinations and laxatives, cosmetics, large ocean fish such as swordfish and tuna, film, plastics, and paint. We ingest or inhale inorganic mercury through our air, food, water, and soil—our bodies can even absorb it through our skin and convert it into even more highly toxic methyl mercury. Additional sources are inks, in some printing and tattoos, refined grains and seeds may test for methyl mercury, chlorine bleaches, contact lens solutions (antibacterial mercury compound is found in contact lens cleaning solutions and injectable vitamins and drugs), felt, fabric softener, floor waxes and polishes, film, broken thermometers and barometers, antiseptic creams and lotions, and nasal sprays.
"Mercury is a cytotoxin," states the book, The Mercury In Your Mouth, by Quicksilver Associates. It is poisonous to all living cells. It also has the capacity to bond with any chemical, which contains a particular type of molecule called "sulfhydryl", found in most proteins. The human body contains an enormous number of protein compounds; they are the building blocks for all body tissue, and many have one or more sulfhydryl groups. As a result, mercury can interfere with virtually any process or organ in the body."
Forms of Mercury
Mercury can occur in inorganic, organic (methyl), and vapor (elemental mercury) forms. "Safe" levels of exposure have titles such as Threshold Limit Values (TLV) and Maximum Allowable Concentrations (MAC). Elemental mercury (vapor) usually is in the mouth with the vapor coming from the mercury dental/amalgams. It then mixes with the saliva and food and goes into the body forming organic mercury (methyl mercury) and settles in the tissues and organs. When mercury is left in the body for long periods of time, it has been known (according to Swedish information) to go to the spinal cord and form inorganic mercury, one that is much more difficult to remove and at that stage we believe damages the myelin sheath around the nerves and may be directly related to tremor diseases and neurological.
There has been controversy of the toxicity of elemental mercury vapor versus methyl mercury. According to Swedish and Canadian studies and research (courtesy of Woodlands Healing Research Center, Dr. Harold Buttram, M.D. in Quakertown, PA). The following is some of their findings.
Elemental Mercury Vapor is more rapidly transmitted throughout the body than other forms of mercury and has much more toxic effects on the central nervous system and other parts of the body than inorganic mercury according to the World Health Organization and other studies. Mercury vapor rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier accumulating in the brain and pituitary gland causing neurological and endocrine system damage. Elemental mercury vapor also rapidly crosses cellular membranes including the placenta of pregnant women with inorganic mercury accumulating in the brain, pituitary gland, kidneys, etc. of the developing fetus." The research continues to say in the situation of the fetus of the pregnant woman that, "there is evidence that indicates that mercury vapor is 10 times more toxic to the fetal brain than methyl mercury."
The studies found that mercury vapor and organic mercury have independent and synergistic toxic and developmental effects, and that additionally, conversions of the mercury occur in the body between the various forms of mercury. It was found that elemental mercury (vapor) was documented to be methylzed in the body to the organic state and was a significant source of methyl mercury.
Organic Mercury-(Methyl Mercury) "Mercury vapor is oxidized or converted to inorganic forms which bioaccumulates in the brain, the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, heart, and oral mucus. The level of mercury in the brain and heart is higher after exposure to mercury vapor than for other forms."
Inorganic Mercury - Substantial research findings is alarming…"While mercury vapor and methyl mercury readily cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier, once in cells they form inorganic mercury that does not readily cross cell membranes of the blood brain barrier. Thus inorganic mercury in the brain (and sometimes in the spinal cord) has a very long life, often over 20 years."
There are numerous sources stating that the major source of mercury in most people has been well documented to be amalgam fillings. This is especially true for mercury in saliva. Much mercury in the saliva is organic since mouth bacteria and other organisms in the body methylate inorganic mercury to organic mercury. In the research, some people tested who do not eat fish have been found to have high levels of methyl mercury. Mercury from amalgam is methylated by bacteria and candida albicans in the mouth and intestines. Once mercury vapor or methyl mercury are converted to inorganic mercury in cells or the brain, the mercury does not readily cross cell membranes or the blood-brain barrier. The mercury has a very long life in the brain (again as much as 20 years), according to the Swedish Medical Journal (1986).
Testing For Mercury
How does a person know that they have mercury poisoning? There are many ways of testing mercury through laboratory testing and in this day and age of advanced technology, through various new instruments.
Patient's Health History
This form is one of the simplest and least expensive ways for evaluation. It helps the patient and the doctor or practitioner decide of a very good probability of a mercury hypersensitivity problem.
There are numerous laboratories across the USA that specialize in the area of metal and chemical analysis. Great Smokies National Laboratories in Asheville, NC and Dr.'s Data in Chicago are two popular ones. They can do hair analysis for reasonable costs and urine analysis is another way they do this testing. See addresses and phone numbers listed at the end.
The hair analysis shows effectiveness usually when the client is in the process of detoxifying the mercury. A high mercury level often indicates the unloading process, so it can indicate that the mercury is there and the body is trying to unload it. The hair test may not show the hidden layers of mercury toxicity so that a low mercury level in the hair may not indicate the true state of the body that has a load of mercury in deeper layers of tissues and organs.
Urine analysis is usually done over an 18 hour or 24 hour process. A base line mercury excretion level may be obtained from this analysis. A provocative test is with a chelating agent. The most conservative approach is with intravenous Vitamin C. It is least likely to cause detoxification illness. Other challenge tests are EDTA and DMPS and an oral one is DMSA.
DMPS, EDTA, & DMSA Challenge
There has been quite a bit of controversy in recent years of the DMPS challenge as it seems to "dump" the poisonous mercury too fast and had some serious detrimental effects. The detoxification process of the poisonous substances need to be released only to the point that the client can bear. When nausea, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, etc. occur, this is a strong indication that the toxins are coming out too fast and the release of poisons perhaps need to be done more slowly! There are now organizations forming, such as DMPSBACKFIRE out of Pennsylvania, against the use of DMPS (check www.dmpsbackfire.com), due to its harmful effects. It is worth checking into before making a decision. According to Heavy Metal Bulletin, Editor, Monica Kauppi, March 1995, issue, "DMPS excretes metals in the following order: zinc, tin, copper, arsenic, mercury." The EDTA challenge test works for some and not for others, while DMSA, the oral challenge test, seem to be the SAFEST of these three. Check the new product section for some of the latest testing for the mercury "challenge test" and products to mobilize the "stuck" mercury. The above paragraph is the opinion of the author only and not necessarily the opinion of the medical profession.
Complete Blood Count
White cell elevation or depression has been found in cases of known mercury poisoning. After amalgam removal the count often levels off from 5,000 to 5,500. A CBC test may be done before and then after removal and offers a comparison. Many laboratories provide this type of test.
Jerome Mercury Vapor Analyzer
This instrument is used by governmental agencies for mercury vapor analysis. The patient is tested before and after chewing sugarless gum without aspartame in it for ten minutes. Usually this test provides some noticeable increases and give the patient an increased awareness of the mercury problem from vapor.
Biocompatibility & Bio-Feedback Testing
Biocompatibility testing is to check out what replacement composites to use AFTER the amalgams have been removed. There are numerous safe composites used for fillings to replace the mercury. It is very important to have this test done to find out what specific composites are compatible with your body chemistry. These can be tested on instruments such as the Dermatron, Computron, Interro, Vega, Xxoid, and B.E.S.T. (the latter is FDA approved).
Another way of testing is through a blood test. The materials selected in this form of testing will be in harmony with your body. These instruments uses frequency-testing by having a person hold a device connected to the instrument that monitors their frequency rates and can check out the substances that are compatible. These instruments also can be used as BIO-FEEDBACK analysis to test which metals and chemicals are present in your body and the advanced technical machines takes it a step further. They will balance the "out of balance" frequencies. The Xxroid instrument and the latest equipment of B.E.S.T. have the "frequency balancing" capacity.
The Patch Test
This test is a highly sensitive test for the hypersensitive patient. It will produce an exacerbation of mercury-related symptoms within 24 hours. The highly hypersensitive patient will react in an hour or less, so for this reason all patients are kept in the office for one hour after application of the patch. A reaction within one hour means that the test is over. The patch is removed, the reaction is neutralized and considered highly hypersensitive and could definitely be considered for amalgam removal. See Hal Huggin's book, It's All In Your Head, for more information.
Symptoms & Diseases of Mercury Toxicity
The symptoms of mercury toxicity are lengthy, but we will attempt to bring you a list derived from several different sources. They include: gastrointestinal problems, nervous system problems, fever, chills, fatigue, headache, insomnia, loss of sex drive, depression, numbness and tingling in hands, irritability, tremors, learning difficulties, irregular heartbeat, chest pains, sore and bleeding gums, immune suppression, birth defects, infertility, kidney/brain damage, anxiety, sensitive tongue, metallic taste in the mouth, allergies, dizziness, cataracts, insomnia, kidney damage, memory loss, nervousness, paralysis, seizures, vision loss, weakness, hearing loss, heart problems, chronic constipation, recurring lesions of the skin, hypersensitivity, restlessness, inability to relate to other people, poor coordination, brain fog (memory problems), monologue talking - sometimes for extremely long periods of time, difficulties in breathing, retinal bleeding, loss of interest in life, reduced capacity for work, vertigo, facial paralysis, a painful pull at the lower jaw towards the collar bone, joint pains, pains in lower back, weakness of muscles, pressure, pains, "needles" at lymph nodes under arms and in groin—also in the liver region, increased need for sleep, a gray ring around the cornea of they eye, feeling of being old, emotional problems, lack of concentration, a feeling of being disconnected from God.
Diseases related to mercury poisoning are: Alzheimer's, all kinds of cancer, epilepsy, arthritis, pneumonia, bronchitis, gingivitis, neuralgia, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, lymphoma, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), leukemia, sinusitis, chronic asthma, hypertension, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), Chrohn's Disease, Candidiasis (binds to mercury), glomerulonephritis (disease of the kidneys), Autism (from mercury in vaccines), SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), anemia, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, Bruxism (grinding teeth), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS), insomnia, Epstein Barr. Actually, there are over 200 diseases associated with mercury poisoning.
The following is from the Journal of Advancement in Medicine, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 1998 by James P. Frackelton, MD, FACAM, and R. Lyle Christensen, Ph.D. taken from their table.
Signs and Symptoms of Toxicity from Mercury Exposure
Acute: Interstitial pnemonitis, bronchitis, tightness or pain in chest, coughing, metallic taste, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting diarrhea, headache, dark line of mercury sulfide on gums, teeth loosen, ulcers on lips and cheeks, develop psychopathologic symptoms and muscle tremors.
Chronic: Mouth and face: inflammation, tender gums, gingivitis, teeth loosen with alveolar destruction, increased or decreased salivation, stomatitis and tongue tremors, nasal irritation, epistaxis, disturbances of taste and smell, loss of appetite, facial pallor.
Neuralgic: tremor of eyelids and extracular muscles, fingers, arms, and legs; neuralgia, paresthesias, ataxia, exaggerated knee jerks and altered plantar reflexes, vasomotor: perspiration and blushing, personality changes, erethism, irritability, irascibility, criticalness, excitability, melancholy, depression, shyness, timidity, moroseness, fatigue, weakness, drowsiness, memory defect.