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European Commission Report Recommends Phasing Out Dental Amalgam

By Dr. Mercola
A European Commission report by the BIO Intelligence Service (BIOS)1 recommending the phase-out of dental amalgam and mercury in button cell batteries has many wondering if the whole of Europe will eliminate the use of dental mercury by 2018.

It’s about time, and hopefully it would push the United States to quickly follow suit. Currently about half of U.S. dentists are mercury-free, and 77 percent of consumers who are informed that amalgam fillings are mostly mercury would choose a mercury-free alternative and are willing to pay more for it.

The European Commission has been working to reduce mercury exposure to humans for the past seven years. While the official stand has been that dental amalgam is safe, recent studies suggest otherwise. Sweden has already phased out dental mercury, and several other European countries have either significantly reduced its use or have imposed restrictions on it. The United States has been shockingly slow to respond to mounting evidence of significant harm from dental amalgam.

It’s important to understand that the term “silver filling” is profoundly deceptive, as the composite material contains anywhere from 49 to 54 percent mercury, not silver. The American Dental Association (ADA) has historically covered up this fact, and at one time even declared that removing mercury fillings is unethical -- despite the known fact that dental amalgam emits mercury vapor after it is implanted in your mouth, and this mercury is bioaccumulative and endangers your health in many ways.

The BIOS recommendations have yet to be adopted, but the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the Mercury Policy Project say they welcome the study. Project coordinator for the EEB's Zero Mercury Campaign, Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, said the work shows that “mercury use must be phased out,” especially since alternatives to mercury use in dentistry are available. “It’s high time that mercury becomes the exception rather than the rule,” she said to PR Newswire2.

The Environmental Effects of Dental Amalgams

The BIOS report primarily focuses on the environmental impacts of dental amalgam as opposed to the health effects of having mercury, a potent neurotoxin, in your mouth. According to the authors of the report, dental amalgam is “a significant contributor to overall EU environmental emissions of mercury from human activities.” The situation is identical in the US. Still, the report offers plenty of evidence suggestive of the potential health ramifications of the archaic and downright barbaric practice of placing mercury in your teeth.

According to the report3:

“The current levels of mercury pollution in the EU are such that all the EU population is exposed to mercury above the natural background level and certain population groups such as high-level fish consumers, women of childbearing age and children are subject to high risk levels, principally due to their high exposure and/or high vulnerability to mercury in the form of methylmercury, which is ingested through the diet.

This presents a risk of negative impacts on health, in particular affecting the nervous system and diminishing intellectual capacity.

There are also environmental risks, for example the disturbance of microbiological activity in soils and harm to wildlife populations. The effects of mercury releases on the integrity of the ecosystem are substantial. Various species, especially eagles, loons, kingfishers, ospreys, ibises, river otters, mink and others that rely on fish for a large part of their diet, have been observed to suffer adverse health and/or behavioral effects.

Observed disorders such as effects on the muscles and nervous system, reduced or altered mating habits, ability to reproduce, raise offspring, catch food and avoid predators have been demonstrated to affect individual animal viability and overall population stability.

According to calculations based on the critical load concept, more than 70 percent of the European ecosystem area is estimated to be at risk today due to mercury, with critical loads of mercury exceeded in large parts of western, central and southern Europe.”

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