As we noted last week, much progress in the fight for mercury-free dentistry has been made from environmental concerns. After all, nearly 30 tons of mercury makes its way from dental offices into wastewater supplies every year. Of course, the most sensible – and cost-effective – way to prevent that is to not use mercury at all.
Suffice it to say, the internal environment of each person on this planet would benefit, too!
Mercury is no magical or intelligent metal. It cannot choose to target one kind of environment or selectively damage one kind of life instead of another. It affects every environment it’s allowed to pollute – that of our planet or that of a person.
Appropriately, that “Environmental Damage” is the theme of this year’s Mercury-Free Dentistry Week. A joint venture by Dr. Mercola and Charlie Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice, it aims to teach the public and increase awareness of the toxic burden of so-called “silver” amalgam fillings on patients, dental personnel and our planet.
Every day this week, Dr. Mercola will feature special content on his website, exploring its impact on health and what you can do to help end the archaic and unscientific practice of repairing teeth by packing them full of one of the most potent neurotoxins there is.
We encourage you to check his site daily, but especially on Saturday, August 25. On that day, Dr. Glaros will be featured in an hour long conversation with Dr. Mercola about the problem of mercury and the promise of biological dentistry.
For now, we leave you with an excerpt from Charlie Brown’s article that kicked off Mercury-Free Dentistry Week:
“I do not approve the practice of any who use mercury or quicksilver
as an ingredient for stopping teeth, and would not
privately recommend any one to go to such.”
– Eleazar Parmly, MD
Dr. Eleazar Parmly’s warning about the dangers of amalgam fillings was not issued in 2012…nor even in 1912…he spoke these words way back in 1845. Over 150 years later, health professionals still voice those same concerns about amalgam – a product that is 50 percent mercury by weight. Over 150 years later, some dentists (albeit an ever-dwindling number) still claim that mercury is safe in people’s mouths. Over 150 years later, even children are still subjected to the unnecessary exposure to mercury fillings.
Enough is enough.
The time for debate is over. Countless studies, reports, and articles now conclusively prove that dental mercury is dangerous in the environment. And Consumers for Dental Choice is working with our colleagues from the dental, medical, and environmental sectors to make sure everyone knows it.
How Dental Mercury Harms Your Health — Even If You Don’t Have Amalgam
If you subscribe to Dr. Mercola’s newsletter, by now you know that mercury is never safe – it is a neurotoxin, a reproductive toxin, and absolutely unneeded in 21st century dentistry. When you’ve been given a choice, you choose mercury-free fillings for your teeth and for your children’s teeth. So are you safe from dental mercury?
Unfortunately, no. Dental mercury is so toxic in the environment that it affects our whole planet…our nations…our communities…and individuals.
Amalgam fillings are one of the largest consumer uses of mercury in the world. Between 313 and 411 tons of dental mercury are consumed each year. In fact, the demand for dental mercury is higher than the demand for almost all other mercury products – more than lighting (120-150 tons), electrical devices (170-210 tons), and measuring devices like thermometers (300-350 tons). As other mercury products are being phased out, amalgam is fast becoming the largest source of mercury pollution from products.
Some dental mercury is dumped directly from the dental office into the environment. But most dental mercury walks out of the clinic in people’s teeth. From there, dental mercury enters the environment by numerous unsound pathways. For example, dental mercury is polluting:
- AIR via cremation, dental clinic emissions, sludge incineration, and respiration; and
- LAND via landfills, burials, and fertilizer;
- WATER via dental clinic releases that go down the drain and human waste.
Once in the environment, dental mercury can convert to its even more toxic form: methylmercury. Ever wonder where all that mercury in fish and seafood comes from? Mercury fillings are one source of mercury contaminating the fish and seafood that we eat. The environmental health effects of dental mercury are well known: brain damage and neurological problems, especially for children and the unborn babies of pregnant women.
How Consumers for Dental Choice Is Fighting for Your Right to a World Free of Dental Mercury
Two years ago as the mercury treaty negotiations loomed, Consumers for Dental Choice started highlighting the environmental harms caused by amalgam. This powerful approach is paying off at the mercury treaty sessions – and turning the tide in nations around the world.
Among our recent steps forward:
- Citing the upcoming mercury treaty specifically, as well as the environmental concerns we too have been voicing, the New York University College of Dentistry announced a new “amalgam policy” to its students: NYU will no longer recommend dental amalgam as the primary posterior tooth restorative… nor will NYU require students to perform competency examinations for amalgam…nor will NYU allow amalgam use in its clinics unless students obtain faculty permission for a specific case. These measures take NYU closer to the ultimate goal: to become “amalgam-free.”
- Across the Atlantic, we had equally exciting news. The European Union had hired a consultant to advise it on what to do about amalgam. Our World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry teamed with European Environmental Bureau, Zero Mercury Working Group, and Non Au Mercure Dentaire to submit information and to testify. The consultant now recommends a total phase-out of amalgam in the 27 nations of the E.U.1 – for the same environmental reasons our team has been explaining. Much work remains to be done here, but we are already mobilizing our forces for that battle.
- While our opponent was trying to turn the 4th mercury treaty session (held in Uruguay) into a never-ending debate on health, we succeeded in keeping amalgam in the draft treaty by emphasizing amalgam’s known environmental harms and by offering practical solutions. As a result of this environmental strategy, our support from government officials and influential organizations from around the world continues to grow.
Amalgam: One of the Costliest Dental Options Available
Consumers for Dental Choice is fighting so that every child can grow up in a dental mercury-free world. To do this, we are working with top experts to highlight the dangers – and high cost – of mercury fillings.
For example, we commissioned Brussels-based Concorde East/West, an international consulting firm that provides research to government agencies, to study the cost of dental mercury compared to the costs of mercury-free fillings. The landmark economics report The Real Cost of Dental Mercury2 (2012) reveals that after environmental costs are taken into account, amalgam is significantly more expensive than the non-mercury alternatives. In fact, the real cost of an amalgam filling is up to $87 more than a composite filling after the environmental costs of each material is considered.
Co-released by Consumers for Dental Choice with the Mercury Policy Project and the European Environmental Bureau, the report goes on to explain that both the environment and society are adversely impacted over “the whole life cycle of dental amalgam – mercury production, preparation of filling materials, removal of old fillings and placement of new ones, environmental and health impacts from mercury recycling, discharges to wastewater, solid waste disposal, emissions from crematoria and releases from cemeteries.” The solution: “phasing out amalgam as a dental restorative material and switching to mercury free alternatives.”
The pro-mercury dental associations have long spread the myth that mercury fillings are cheaper than the many mercury-free options such as composite. As stated by Charlie in the featured interview:
“The reason the pro-mercury dentists use amalgam is the profits. They make more per filling, per chair, per day…. They do this because they don’t pay for the environmental damage. It’s the rest of us who have to pay for the huge environmental damage caused by the irresponsible pro-mercury dentists.”
Now, we are prepared to counter them with hard numbers.
So who pays the high costs associated with dental mercury pollution?
- Taxpayers, who pay for the clean-up of dental mercury
- Governments, who pay the administrative costs of dental mercury pollution clean-up
- Fishermen, who lose income when dental mercury contaminates seafood
- Funeral home owners, who pay for abatement equipment to address dental mercury from crematoria
- Landlords, who are left with mercury in dental clinic pipes
- Farmers, who cannot use sludge contaminated by dental mercury as fertilizer
- Environmentally-responsible dentists, who are at a competitive disadvantage because they do not use mercury
- Manufacturers of alternatives, who are at a disadvantage against competitors selling polluting mercury products
- Job seekers, who lose opportunities for work making, developing, and distributing the mercury-free alternatives to amalgam
- Wildlife, which is contaminated by dental mercury pollution
- Tourism workers, who lose revenue when the natural environment is harmed by dental mercury pollution
- Pregnant and nursing women, whose unborn and newborn babies are exposed to dental mercury pollution
- Children and parents, who pay for neurological damage resulting from dental mercury pollution
Read the rest of the article – & find out how you can get involved in the fight for mercury-free dentistry – at Mercola.com.
One thing you can do now: Help us get the word out by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media you use.