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 clear enough.

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 help patients.

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.