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
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
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
||Cells for Caustic Soda and Chlorine
||Fungicides/Preservatives (most uses
||Pigments (for the making of fancy
||Preservative in vaccines (Thimerosal)
(For a list of vaccines which contain
||Tanning and dyeing
||Use In Boilers/Turbines for Electricity
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
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.
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
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.
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
Kidney effects: Kidney damage includes increased
protein in the urine and may result in kidney failure at high dose
Birth defects: Neurological damage from Methyl
Mercury. The manifestations of mild exposure include delayed developmental
milestones, altered muscle tone and tendon reflexes, and depressed
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
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.
SO, MERCURY IS HIGHLY TOXIC AND SHOULD BE HANDLED
WITH CARE AND ATTENTION,
IF AT ALL
.SO WHY ARE DENTISTS ALLOWED
TO PUT IT INTO OUR MOUTHS BY WAY OF
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!
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
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.
DID YOU KNOW? A
THIMBLEFUL OF MERCURY IS ENOUGH TO
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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
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