Heavy Metal Can Drive You Crazy

Most of us try to avoid toxic waste dumps. Common sense? Raise the oxymoron flag, because unfortunately, that sense is not so common. Many of us are unknowingly trying to live our lives with poison in our heads -- in the guise of "helpful modern dentistry." Ingredients of the average filling include mercury (Hg), which is amalgamated with silver. The minor detail is that mercury is a heavy metal that is poisonous to the brain and body. The long-standing dentistry belief is that in a filling, the mercury is inert, posing no harm to the owner/host. Now people are coming forward to disagree, and it's not a pretty picture.According to The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology's Bio-Probe Newsletter, "dental amalgam is the major source of inorganic mercury exposure in the general population." How is this happening? Aren't we being protected from this poison? Somewhat. OSHA regulates mercury in its liquid form, "for the safety of the dental staff," and rates it as a biohazard. The EPA monitors mercury in the air and water. But no one officially takes responsibility for mercury in the mouth. So just remove it, right? After all, there are gold and resin composite alternatives. The problem is, unless the dentist is trained in the removal of the amalgam and uses proper protective methods, removing the amalgam can be even more dangerous. With all the grinding, the mercury forms a breathable vapor. The use of the "recommended" rubber dam has been controversial because the mercury vapor can concentrate around the tooth, underneath the dam. Heart patients take digitalis sublingually to stave off palpitations because it is the fastest way for the chemical to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Asthma sufferers blast medicated vapor directly into their lungs so they don't asphyxiate. When mercury goes into our mouths or lungs, it also goes right to the bloodstream and brain. Mercurochrome was taken off the market because its mercury content was deemed poisonous. Yet 80 percent of dental practitioners still use mercury amalgams, and 30 percent are not trained in non-metal alternatives, let alone removal. Also, as far as insurance is concerned, gold is considered a "vanity" material and not covered. Sufferers of mercury poisoning have symptoms including lowered energy levels, emotional instability (especially manic episodes), chronic pain, memory loss, and even auto-immune difficulties. Historically, these problems have been related to "Mad Hatter's Disease," a result of the mercury present in the craftsman's vocation.The Horror StoriesWhere are the ADA (American Dental Association) and the state dental boards in all of this? Shouldn't they be responsible for what goes on in (and into) our mouths during dental treatment? They are involved, but not in the ways you'd think. There are many incidences of dentists and their staff being subpoenaed, persecuted, and forced to pull advertising referencing mercury- and nickel-free procedures.A woman with a recently-installed crown developed "burning mouth sensation," experienced profound memory loss, became despondent, and now can barely get out of bed. She has been told her crown is "beautiful." That may be, but what is it made of? She is plagued by the feeling that she has to "get it out." The body knows best? The crown may be made with nickel. Nickel allergies are common with jewelry, so you can just imagine the potential havoc that nickel could wreak in the ultra-sensitive mucous membranes of the mouth. There are cases of suicidal people who have found out that their ability to think rationally was affected by nickel poisoning. Once the offending metal was removed, they were no longer contemplating their demise. The majority of crowns are "non precious metal" crowns, made with nickel -- or beryllium, which is a known carcinogen.Another victim of heavy metals in the mouth related that he'll "forget where I am while driving down the road." Loss of memory and motor control smack of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, which along with other neurological impairments have been linked to mercury poisoning. An example of post-removal issues is that of a man who had the fillings taken out of his molars. He had all the aforementioned symptoms, and additionally, colon and muscle paralysis, severe headaches, TMJ, and tinnitus. Bloodtests revealed elevated mercury levels, and topical piezo-electric measurements of the electric polarity of the teeth indicated that all was not well. He was being attacked chemically and electrically. It has been almost a year since the removals, and he feels much better, but he is still dealing with auto-immune sensitization (his own immune system is attacking itself) that developed within a month of the last removal and could be related to the effects of detoxification, as well as residual symptoms. The supplements he needs to take are expensive, and he requires chelation treatments, neither of which are covered by insurance. Even though he is on the road to recovery, he's not out of the woods yet.Detractors of the mercury/nickel issues could state that these comprise hearsay, but the nature of this conflict is such that sources cannot be named, due to concern about bringing down more persecution on these already trouble-plagued people. How many of us have read Catch-22?The Battle Rages OnOn April 29, 1998, the Department of Health of the Government of Great Britain issued a warning in the form of a "precautionary measure" that pregnant women should not have mercury amalgam fillings placed in their mouths. Similar advisories have been released by the governments of Canada (the Health Canada issue), Germany (home of the online Amalgam List), and Sweden, with other countries considering coming on board. From the May 18, 1998 issue of ADA News: "While dentists in England were advised last month to avoid placing or removing amalgam fillings in pregnant women, the ADA expressed concern that this advice could cause needless anxiety, as there is no evidence of a health risk." Also: "According to Dr. Daniel Meyer, associate executive director of the ADA Division of Sciences, the United Kingdom's recommendations are similar, in part, to the recommendations issued by Health Canada." The lack of interest on the part of the "establishments" in addressing this issue comes back to the old dental saying, "drill, fill, and bill."The Not-So-Free StateHere at home, troubles abound, but concerned groups are trying to help. D.C.-based law firm Swankin & Turner, along with Consumers For Dental Choice (a national coalition of consumers who support the need for dentists who practice mercury-free dentistry, and the opportunity for those who wish to do so), consumer advocacy groups DAMS, Inc. (the Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome Support Group) and Citizens for Health, the IAOMT, and the Holistic Dentists Association, have joined to send a petition to all 50 state dental boards and dental regulators. Also receiving the petition are all Governors and State Attorneys General, as well as MD Governor Glendening, MD Attorney General Joseph Curran, Jr., and Dr. Louis A. Ebersold, Acting Administrator of the MD State Board of Dental Examiners. The petition is "for the purpose of initiating dialogue with each state board about its policy concerning mercury-free dentistry and its implementation of such policy." Swankin & Turner's Charles G. Brown, Esq., notes that "the ADA position is that mercury amalgams are 'quite safe for almost anybody.'" Even worse, attorneys for the ADA have pleaded in court: "The ADA owes no legal duty of care to protect the public from allegedly dangerous products used by dentists. The ADA did not manufacture, design, supply or install the mercury-containing amalgams."Brown states that this is an issue of public health and the right of consumers to find facts and to make informed decisions. "We can control what goes in our mouths," he insists, but ironically, there is a "gap in public health when it comes to the mouth." Brown elaborates by saying "sadly, physicians have abandoned dental health questions to dentists, while the dental establishment ignores the public health altogether when it comes to metals in the mouth. It is time for dentists to step up to the plate and recognize the consequences of what they are doing to their patients." Furthermore, "Many dental boards are trying to block information, only implementing the policies of the ADA. Instead of allowing public debate of important health issues, something permitted in all other health professions, the philosophy of those dental boards appears to be to stifle debate and intimidate. It is astonishing that many dental boards ignore the legal rights each dentist has under the First Amendment. It is even more amazing that they don't want new scientific ideas to emerge the only way they ever have, by lone voices raising criticisms of current practices."The MD State Dental Board has yet to address the petition.Contact Swankin & Turner at 202-462-8800 for information on how to contact your state legislator regarding this issue.HELP!For CitizensThe DAMS, Inc. (Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome) Support Group needs your help. Bernice Rudelic, a victim of mercury poisoning, initiated this all-volunteer, contribution-funded organization that offers support and information for people damaged by dental mercury, as well as referral services for access to "mercury-free" dentists and doctors. Rudelic states that most dentists operate under the "dictates of the ADA, which is essentially a trade association...a club of professionals benefiting its members, not citizens." She explains that every dental school draws its accreditation from the ADA, which has in the past owned patents for dental amalgams (another amalgam victim affirmed that the ADA was formed in the 1920s to protect those patents) -- a conflict of interest, to say the least. Rudelic is a former dental assistant, and she says that they have a higher rate of miscarriages, spontaneous abortions, and intoxication of the infant. Rudelic's own child was poisoned. What's more -- again from the Bio-Probe Newsletter -- evidence exists that exposure to mercury, especially prenatally, may be a factor in later addiction to drugs. It is interesting to note that there are more suicides in dentistry than in any other medical profession. Call 800-311-6265 -- ask about their newsletter and upcoming health symposium in Philadelphia. The DAMS website is at www.amalgam.org.For PractitionersThe International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) is headed by Dr. Michael F. Ziff, D.D.S., and he describes it as "made up of dentists, physicians, and medical researchers who are involved in the scientific investigation of materials and procedures in dental therapy." He says that the IAOMT motto is "Show me your science!" There are worldwide chapters, with the North American Chapter as the parent organization. The IAOMT has "helped fund or has been the catalyst for much of the current scientific research demonstrating that dental amalgam is not the benign material that 150 years of use and the ADA would like you to believe." Support and information (including the Bio-Probe Newsletter) is available for health professionals who have a mercury-free stance or are contemplating going that direction.Citizens can receive public information by sending a number 10 SASE with $.78 return postage to:Foundation for Toxic-Free Dentistry, POB 608010, Orlando, FL 32860-8010.For EverybodyThe Amalgam List is a very spirited online discussion for practitioners and amalgam victims. Email listserv@listserv.gmd.de, leave the subject blank, and in the body type: subscribe AMALGAM Your Name Access the amalgam archive website at www.listserv.gmd.de/archives/amalgam.html.***SidebarAccording to the ADA...As late as 1991, the ADA supported the theory that mercury is stable (or "bound up") with the other metals in the amalgam and will not "leak" into the body. The official policy since 1985 states, "It is important to note that mercury forms a biologically inactive substance when it combines with the other materials used to produce amalgam." As of 1991, the ADA agreed that mercury release from fillings does occur, but also claimed "there is no scientific evidence that this minuscule amount of mercury has any adverse health effect." The Food and Drug Administration supports this position and has not challenged the safety of mercury.The Experts Say:"Dissemination of information relating to the practice of dentistry does not create a duty of care to protect the public from potential injury." --American Dental Association lawyers"About 3 percent of the population are estimated to suffer from mercury sensitivity. Reactions sometimes occur in the soft tissues of the mouth next to fillings." --British Dental Association Internet Page, Dental Advice on AmalgamOnline Information:ADA Online http://www.ada.org/Mercury FAQ: http://www.algonet.se/~leif/AmFAQigr.html"The Silver Filling Controversy--Pros and Cons," by Dr. Phillip Sukel, DDS: http://www.sukel.com/fillings.htmRecent amalgam research: http://home.sol.no/reiersol/amalgam.htmDental injury hotline and info: http://www.web-maker.com/linkmat.html

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