For perhaps centuries, it has been known that mercury exposure can lead to neurological problems and sometimes death. In the 18th and 19th centuries, hatters would use mercury compounds in order to manufacture felt. For many, this would result in “madness.”
Additionally, for large parts of the twentieth century, mercury in the form of mercurochrome was used as a disinfectant for wounds. Thimerosal, a mercury containing compound has been used as a preservative for many bulk vaccinations.
These amalgams off-gas mercury vapor and, except for a small cohort of the population who excrete the mercury, and this volatile substance is inhaled and then absorbed and stored in fatty tissues (including the myelin that insulates nerves).
Unfortunately, mercury is in many of the things we come in contact with on a daily basis. For some people, the additional burden of mercury vapor exiting the “silver fillings” in their mouths may contribute to a host of progressively debilitating chronic diseases. Certainly pregnant mothers with amalgam fillings need to be alerted to the fact that the vapor enters the bloodstream and will be deposited in the growing fetus, potentially setting the stage for neurological disorders later.
It is with the awareness of the hazards of this material that we take the utmost precautions when removing the material from our patients. It is for our mutual protection and health.