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Mercury occurs naturally in the environment as Mercuric Sulphide, also known as Cinnabar. It is also present in some fossil fuels. Cinnabar has been refined for its Mercury content since the 15th or 16th century BC It's health hazards have been known at least since theRoman conquest of Spain. Due to the toxicity of Mercury in Cinnabar, criminals sentenced to work in "quicksilver" mines by the Romans had a life expectancy of only 3 years.

Mercury is present in numerous chemical forms. Elemental mercury itself is toxic and cannot be broken down into less hazardous compounds. Elemental or inorganic forms can be transformed into organic (especially methylated) forms by biological systems. Not only are these methylated mercury compounds toxic, but highly bioaccumulative as well. The increase in mercury as it rises in the aquatic food chain results in relatively high levels of mercury in fish consumed by humans. Widespread poisoning of Japanese fisherman and their families occurred in Minamata, Japan in the 1950's as a result of consumption of methyl mercury contaminated fish. Today, we continue to be exposed to mercury in our diets, primarily from fish and shellfish. As a result, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has an action level for mercury of 1 part per million (PPM) in fish and the Michigan Department of Public Health issues fish consumption advisories to anglers when mercury levels exceed 0.5 ppm in fish tissue.

Widespread industrial production of Mercury, along with the lack of careful handling and disposal practices has contributed to environmental contamination. Spain and Italy produce about 50% of the world's supply of the metal.

In addition to the early workers in the cinnabar mines, modern workers in industries using Mercury are at risk from overexposure.

Desirable properties such as the ability to mix with other metals, its liquidity at room temperature, ease of vaporising and freezing, and electrical conductivity make Mercury an important industrial metal.

Among its 3,000 industrial uses are BATTERY MANUFACTURING and CHLORINE-ALKALI production. PAINTS and INDUSTRIAL INSTRUMENTS have also been among the major uses. Until paint manufacturers agreed to eliminate the use of mercury in interior paints, 480,000 pounds of mercury in paints and coatings were produced each year.


Mercury is used in a number of every day items which we are not aware of. Here are just some of them:


Catalysts and Pigments
Cells for Caustic Soda and Chlorine Production
Contact Lens Solution
Dental Amalgams
Electrical Instruments
Fluorescent lights
Fungicides/Preservatives (most uses
    now banned)

Investment Casting
Laboratory Reagent
Manufacturing of mirrors
Mercury Vapour Lamps
Metal Plating
Paint (anti-fouling)
Pigments (for the making of fancy coloured papers)
Preservative in vaccines (Thimerosal)
       (For a list of vaccines which contain
          Thimerosal please
click here.)
Sealing Wax
Synthetic Silk
Tanning and dyeing
Textile Production
Use In Boilers/Turbines for Electricity Generation





Humans come in contact with mercury through environment, occupational and accidental exposure. An estimated 80% of used mercury is eventually released back into the environment. Because it is easily vaporised, air around chlorine-alkali plants, smelters, municipal incinerators, sewage treatment plants and even contaminated soils may contain increased levels of mercury. A primary route of exposure is through transport into surface waters, where mercury becomes biomagnified in fish tissues.

Workplace exposure to mercury occurs through inhalation of contaminated air, direct skin contact with liquid mercury oral exposure through contaminated hands, food etc.

The television program 60 MINUTES highlighted concerns about mercury exposure in patients receiving "SILVER" DENTAL FILLINGS WITH MERCURY -CONTAINING AMALGAM.

Accidents have resulted in several cases of mercury poisoning in Michigan, USA in the past two years. Four members of a family were killed after one member attempted to refine DENTAL AMALGAM in his home while attempting to recover silver. High levels of mercury were found throughout the house, including wrapped food inside the freezer. The entire house had to be demolished and disposed of in a hazardous waste landfill!!

A number of children have developed Mercury poisoning after playing with small vials of mercury which they found at home or school. These children were hospitalised when symptoms became so severe that they could no longer walk. One contamination accident involved closing a school for weeks and entailed environmental investigation of residencies, cars, school buses, and day care centres.



In the human body, Mercury accumulates in the liver, kidney, brain, and blood. Mercury may cause acute or chronic health effects. Acute exposure (i.e., short term, high doses) is not as common today due to greater precautions and decreased handling. However, severe acute effects may include severe gastrointestinal damage, cardiovascular collapse, or kidney failure, all of which could be fatal. Inhalation of 1-3 mg/m3 for 2-5 hours may cause headaches, salivation, metallic taste in the mouth, chills, cough, fever, tremors, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, fatigue, or lung irritation. Symptoms may be delayed in onset for a number of hours.

Chronic effects include central nervous system effects, kidney damage and birth defects. Genetic damage is also suspected.

Nervous system effects. These are the most critical effects of chronic mercury exposure from adult exposure as they are consistent and pronounced. Elemental Mercury is dissolved in the blood and is transported across the blood/brain barrier, oxidised and retained in brain tissue. Elimination from the brain is slow, resulting in nerve tissue accumulation. Symptoms of chronic Mercury exposure on the nervous system include increased excitability, mental instability, tendency to weep, fine tremors of the hands and feet, and personality changes. The term "Mad as a Hatter" came from these symptoms which were a result of Mercury exposure in workers manufacturing hats using a Mercury-containing process.

Kidney effects: Kidney damage includes increased protein in the urine and may result in kidney failure at high dose exposure.

Birth defects: Neurological damage from Methyl Mercury. The manifestations of mild exposure include delayed developmental milestones, altered muscle tone and tendon reflexes, and depressed intelligence.

Mercury exposure in children can cause a severe form of poisoning termed acrodynia. Acrodynia is evidenced by pain in the extremities, pinkness and peeling of the hands, feet and nose, irritability, sweating, rapid heartbeat and loss of mobility.

Substitutes for Mercury -containing devices should be used whenever possible; e.g. thermometers and sphygmomanometers. When Mercury devices must be used, special precautions should be taken. These devices should never be used on a cloth surface, such as upholstered chair or in a room with a carpeted floor. If a spill occurred in such an area, the upholstery or carpeting would need to be discarded, as it could not be effectively decontaminated.

Children should never be left unattended near these devices. If Mercury thermometers are used, a Mercury-spill kit should be kept readily accessible. The kit should contain a sulphur powder to suppress volatilisation and a collection device.

Today, a typical adult carries ten amalgams weighing a total of about ten grams, of which five grams is mercury. Research shows the rate at which mercury escapes amalgam is about half a gram of mercury from these ten fillings over the ten-year life of these fillings, and most of this mercury will be absorbed by the bearer of the amalgams. To put a half-gram in context, consider these facts: Half a gram of mercury dropped into a ten-acre lake warrants the promulgation of a fish advisory for the lake in Minnesota; the tennis shoes with mercury in them that were banned by the Minnesota legislature in 1994 contained half a gram of mercury per shoe.






Most people reading this would have either read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland or know the story at least. We all know about the Mad Hatter's tea party. But do you know why he was called "The Mad Hatter"?

During the 19th century there were an abundance of Hatters (Milliners). A man would not dream of going outside without his hat on. Felt hats were very popular, an example being the "top hat". The best and most expensive ones were made from beaver fur, but the more cheaper versions were made from rabbit fur. The rabbit fur was not as easy to work with as the beaver was, it didn't easily "mat" and wasn't easily compressed and shaped. In order to make the skins more pliable Mercurous Nitrate was used to achieve the flexibility they needed. This process was called "carroting" as it made the fur turn orange. Finishing the hats included steaming and ironing the hats. Hatters worked in poor ventilated workshops and during this process the Mercury solution was absorbed into the skin of the Hatters and they also inhaled toxic levels of mercury vapour which would cause extreme cases of induced DEMENTIA and ST. VITAS' DANCE or lesser tremors.  (People who wore these hats were also poisoned!). This led to the English expression "mad as a hatter" and the American term "Danbury Shakes" from the Connecticut town where hat making was a chief industry. (Incidentally, in 1941, Mercury Nitrate was banned from hat making by 26 states of the United States). (Source Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable). Lewis Carol used the Hatter in his portrayal of someone completely "mad".

Ok...so we know how the hatters became poisoned...but how did they find that mercury was what they needed to make the fur flexible? Well, a story passed down through the years amongst hat makers is that the hat makers in Turkey found that the felting process was speeded up dramatically if the fibres were moistened with camel urine. In France...due to the lack of camels...the workmen used their own urine. One particular workman seemed consistently to produce a much superior felt than the others. It was found that this workman was being treated for syphilis and the treatment in those days was a mercury compound (if the syphilis didn't kill you...then the cure would)...the association was then made between the mercury and the superior felt. Eventually the use of solutions of mercuric nitrate was widespread in the felt industry and mercury poisoning became endemic.

The days of using mercury for hat making are well gone...but the poisoning lives on...in our teeth!


A reference to this is also mentioned in Thackeray's "Pendennis".




We've all heard of 'Quack' doctors...but do you know where the term derives from? Mercury Amalgam fillings were first introduced by the Crawcours brothers first to England and France then to America in the 1830's. There were two types of dentists at this time. There were medical doctors trained to practice  both medicine and dentistry, called medical-dentists. Then there were craftsmen-dentists. The craftsmen-dentists were those who were engaged in some other trade such as barbering, wood or metal carvers, blacksmiths etc. Before 1840 there were no dental schools, no dental licensing,  no dental organisations or dental board exams. Dentists were self-taught by trial and error or were apprenticed under a practicing medical-dentist and anyone could put up a sign calling themselves a dentist. This is when the amalgam war started.  The medical-dentists knew that the mercury in the amalgam was poisonous, but the craftsmen-dentists were not concerned about the medical consequences of putting amalgam into a person's mouth. It filled the cavities without pain.

In 1840 American dentists formed The American Society of Dental Surgeons. The members were required to sign a pledge that they would NOT use Mercury in their fillings. Dentists who were found to be using Mercury were fined for malpractice. Mercury was known as "Quicksilver" in America but in Europe it was known as "Quacksalver".

"Quack-salver" was used as a cure for skin diseases especially the skin lesions associated with tertiary syphilis. (A "Salve" being an application for wounds.) The skin rash would disappear but the disease went deeper into the organs and nervous system and the person died a very painful death. The "doctors" soon became know as "Quacks" because they were using the "Quacksalver"....a poisonous substance to "cure". The term was then used to describe a dentist who used "Quacksalver" for the same purpose, to "Cure" or fix decay with an amalgam filling.

In 1859 a new dental organisation was formed, the American Dental Association (ADA). This body did not condemn the use of Mercury in fillings and now 143 years later Mercury is still being used by dentists around the world and dental associations in all countries (INCLUDING THE BRITISH DENTAL ASSOCIATION [BDA] HERE IN BRITAIN) try to crucify dentists who tell their patients that Amalgam fillings, which contain at least 50% Mercury, are safe!!!

Although Amalgam has been used in our teeth for the past 160 years it IS dangerous to our health. Mercury vapours are released on a daily basis, especially when we brush our teeth or chew our food. The vapours travel through our sinuses into our bodies where it attacks our immune systems causing many different symptoms. As the mercury finds its way to various parts of our body we become allergic to many things in our ordinary daily lives. We fall ill and our doctors cannot find a true cause for our symptoms. Many of the symptoms are a mirror of the symptoms, which you will find in Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Asthma and many others including Alzheimer's Disease. Mercury not only gives us physical symptoms but it attacks our brains causing short-term memory loss, which our doctors put down to Alzheimer's disease, even in the very young.

The NHS allows dentists to use Amalgam because it is cheap and it is strong and lasts. The British Dental Association claim that Amalgam is safe and that there have been no more than 100 cases reported of Mercury Poisoning due to Amalgam. This is COMPLETE RUBBISH!! There are thousands of people all over the world who are/have been ill for years and the cause has been found to be MERCURY POISONING FROM THEIR AMALGAM FILLINGS. Unfortunately, I was one of those people. I became ill after going to the dentist and having 6 Amalgam fillings.







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The information on this website is provided for educational and information purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents herein; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals.
If you think you may be suffering from amalgam mercury poisoning PLEASE seek profession help and do not try to 'cut corners' by not going to the correct type of dentist, by not chelating and by not following your practitioner's advice completely.

The information on this website is based upon the experiences of the owner and other sufferers who have told freely of their own experiences. All information is believed to be accurate.  Lyn Rennick's AMPS Society cannot be held responsible or liable for anything untoward happening if the reader does not follow any instructions to the letter.