Amalgam Can Cause Brain Damage in Children
Courtesy of Monica Kaupi "Heavy Metal Bulletin"
From the Press conference of the Swedish Council for Planning
and Coordinating Research. Stockholm, 19 February 1998
"Amalgam can cause brain damage in children." -Move over
amalgam - at last!
Mercury from amalgam may damage the brain, kidneys and the
immune system of a great number of people. The effects in
foetus and children are of most concern. Those are the
conclusions of a report soon to handed to the Government.
"There is no conflict any more," says Gunnar Goude from the
board of the Swedish Council for Planning and Coordinating
Research (FRN), after reviewing the comprehensive
documentation from the four seminars. "There is total
agreement among the Board members that it is time to move
forward and leave amalgam behind." The Board will, in their
coming report to the Government, recommend discontinuing the
use of amalgam as a dental material.
The reason why the first report, prepared by Prof. Jerelov,
was not presented at the press conference as planned was that
it was unanimously rejected by the Board (18 members). Its
message - that old conflicts have now been settled - was not
At the press conference, the printed documentation from the
seminars was presented. Prof. Jernelov held a speech,
telling that there is hope for an end of the conflict. He
also presented a few examples from the documentation.
Genetic difference in individual sensitivity and varying
absorption were emphasized in the report.
Commissioned by the Coucil to make an additional literature
search of all studies on amalgam published after 1993, Prof.
em. Maths Berlin reported that Hg vapour (the form of mercury
emitted from amalgam) affects the CNS and the kidneys (which
may lead to the need for dialysis). His major concern is,
however, that Hg may affect the development of the brain of
the foetus. The exposure in some individuals is as high as
that in industrial workers, levels which cause CNS effects.
Since the symptoms are similar to those of many other
disorders, there may be many patients who do not know that
they are affected by amalgam. "If you remove amalgam from an
adult, he/she will get healthy, provided the cause was
mercury, but the effects in a foetus are irreversible...the
risk is serious enough to be unacceptable. Therefore
exposure to amalgam should be avoided in children and women
in fertile age."
In his opinion it is unlikely that all people who claim to be
ill from amalgam are right about the cause of their problems
(some may be victims of suggestion). About 1 % of the
population may be affected. His estimate was contradicted by
other participants who claimed that from 5,000 to 5000,000
Swedes could be affected.
In the debate that followed, he also said that previously
doctors and dentists tried to protect patients from
unnecessary worries by not always tell what they knew or
suspected, but "nowadays we tell the truth." He also said
that pregnant women should be examined for the presence of
mercury and that special clinics should be established to
According to Dr. Magnus Nylander, Hg exposure from amalgam
fillings could be as high as 100 mc/day. brain autopsies
support these figures. Prof em. Lars Friberg, expressed his
satisfaction with the investigation and a hope that in the
future research funds will be granted by committees with
medical competence and not mainly by odontologists.
Prof. Ingvar Skare said that it is surprising how amalgam, of
all mercury applications, has been give this particularly
heavy burden of proof. Prof. Richardson's re-evaluation of
his own method which was made at the request of FRN, was
published in the book. Some of the conclusions are:
The book (most texts are in Swedish, some in English) can be
ordered from FRN, see page 21.
- Exposures and reference doses for Hg vapour may be more
suitably standardized on the basis of body surface area than
on body weight.
- Average Hg exposures from amalgam exceeded the proposed
reference dose in all age groups as follows: toddlers by 1.4
times, children by 2.09 times, teens by 3.3 times, adults by
5.0 times, seniors by 3.6 times.
- Data suggest that approximately 19 to 20% of the general
population may experience sub-clinical CNS and/or kidney
function impairment as a result of the presence of amalgam
- It is impossible to determine from presently available
data and information, what if any threhold might exist for
sub-clinical impacts of Hg vapour exposure on CNS and/or
- Significan data gaps exist in the published literature
which should be addressed to resolve a potential link between
amalgam use and subclinical CNS and/or kidney function