WHO Finally Takes Stance Against Dental Mercury
The final WHO report urges "a switch in use of dental materials" away from amalgam.As reported by Charlie Brown, director of Consumers for Dental Choice,"[F]or many reasons," WHO explains, "restorative materials alternative to dental amalgam are desirable." As Consumers for Dental Choice, which was founded by Bob Jones and Sue Ann Taylor, reported, WHO noted the following three reasons for the new position:
Amalgam releases a "significant amount of mercury" into the environment, including the atmosphere, surface water, groundwater, and soil. WHO reports:
"When released from dental amalgam use into the environment through these pathways, mercury is transported globally and deposited. Mercury releases may then enter the human food chain especially via fish consumption."
WHO determines that amalgam raises "general health concerns": While the report acknowledges that a few dental trade groups still believe amalgam is safe for all, the WHO report reaches a very different conclusion: "Amalgam has been associated with general health concerns." The report observes:
"According to the Norwegian Dental Biomaterials Adverse Reaction Unit, the majority of cases of side-effects of dental filling materials are linked with dental amalgam."
WHO concludes "materials alternative to dental amalgam are available" and cites studies indicating they are superior to amalgam. For example, WHO says "recent data suggest that RBCs [resin-based composites] perform equally well" as amalgam. And compomers have a higher survival rate, says WHO, citing a study finding that 95% of compomers and 92% of amalgams survive after 4 years.
In particular, WHO explains that "Alternative restorative materials of sufficient quality are available for use in the deciduous [baby] dentition of children" – the population whose developing neurological systems are most susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of dental mercury. Perhaps more important than the survival of the filling, WHO asserts that:
"Adhesive resin materials allow for less tooth destruction and, as a result, a longer survival of the tooth itself."
The report also included mention of the known toxic effects of mercury exposure, stating:
"Mercury is highly toxic and harmful to health. Approximately 80% of inhaled mercury vapor is absorbed in the blood through the lungs, causing damages to lungs, kidneys and the nervous, digestive, respiratory and immune systems
. Health effects from excessive mercury exposure include tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia, emotional instability, developmental deficits during fetal development, and attention deficit and developmental delays during childhood
This is the latest revelation in a string of positive progress that has been made this year toward ridding the dental industry of dangerous mercury-containing amalgams.