DAMS Mercury Fact Sheet #5

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Amalgam Effects on Dentists & Dental Staff

DAMS has amassed more than 150 medical studies document the adverse health effects of office mercury exposure to dental workers. A review of this research shows:

  1. Dental office staff mercury exposure is comparable to exposure from more than 15 amalgam fillings and commonly more than the federal ATSDR/EPA health guideline (MRL) for mercury.
  2. Dental staff exposure is proportionate to the number of amalgam fillings placed, removed, or polished, as well as the number of their own amalgam fillings.
  3. Dental staff have significantly higher levels of mercury excretion than non-ccupationally exposed controls.
  4. Sensitization or development of allergic conditions such as dermatitis and systemic allergies is common among dental staff.
  5. Dentists and dental staff commonly accumulate mercury body burden and develop neurological conditions such as irritability, depression or mood disorders, memory deficits, headaches, neuropathies, motor function deficits, or tremors.
  6. Dentists and dental workers have also been found to have higher levels of autoimmune or immune disorders, chronic fatigue, arthritis, myalgia or neuralgia.
  7. Dentists and dental workers have been found to have higher levels of reproductive problems, including infertility, menstrual disorders, birth defects, spontaneous abortions, or children with lower than average IQ.
  8. Some studies have found higher cancer rates, mood disorders, and higher suicide rates among dentists than in controls.
  9. Patients and occupationally exposed workers who get their amalgam fillings replaced and avoid further exposure to mercury often recover from serious chronic systemic conditions.
  10. Dental office waste and mercury in human wastes of those with amalgam fillings are the two largest sources of high mercury levels in sewers, and thus a major source of mercury in waterways, fish, and wildlife. Over 20% of all U.S. river miles, 30% of all U.S. lakes, and most bays have warnings limiting fish consumption due to mercury accumulation.
  11. Dental amalgam is also a major source of mercury air emissions since dental amalgam is the largest source of mercury in sewer sludge, and most mercury in sewer sludge is outgassed either at the sewer plant or after landspread or landfilled, since soil bacteria methylates other forms of mercury to methyl mercury, and both mercury vapor and methyl mercury are outgassed from the soil. Crematoria are also a major source of mercury air emissions due to those with amalgam fillings, since there is currently no regulation requiring teeth to be extracted before cremation.


Documentation of the research mentioned above is available from DAMS at amalgam.org.

DAMS is currently working with thousands of people in the U.S. dealing with serious health effects caused by exposure to mercury from amalgam and urges everyone to find out more about this major problem and to get involved in resolving these health safety issues. DAMS can provide information and help to anyone who is interested or who thinks they might have health problems related to their amalgam fillings.

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