Amalgam ban demanded in Germany
Joel M. Eichen
joele at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 23 18:00:36 EST 1999
arie_ at hotmail.com wrote:
>The following Press Release From Germany has been translated by Mats
>Hanson, Ph.D. of Sweden.
>BUND, Friends of the earth. The Association of Environment and
>Environmental Protection, Germany. Dunanstrasse 16, D-79110 Freiburg
>Freiburg/Bonn, 28 January 1997
>Presentation of the results of the largest trial on mercury release
>from dental amalgam fillings in world,
>BUND demands: No respite for amalgam - Amalgam ban overdue.
>Amalgam has been the dental filling material of choice since 150
>years. The criticism of this debated material has now been further
>strengthened after the current results of the Tubingen amalgam tests.
BUND, Friends of the earth.
This sounds way too familiar.
>The largest test in the world on mercury release from amalgam fillings
>into the saliva was initiated in summer 1995 by BUND and carried out
>by the department of environmental analysis at the university of
>Tubingen. After a few hundred tests at the BUND- Environmental
>exhibition OKO-95 in Ulm had shown a mean of more than four times
>higher mercury levels in the saliva than the Bundesgesundheitsamt had
>reported, BUND decided to act because of apparent governmental
I love it. BUND going right down that old path.
>Funded by the MOMO-Children Foundation, we engaged the
>environmental analytical group at the university of Tubingen for the
>scientific realization of the largest experiment in the world on
>mercury release from dental amalgam fillings. The analysis of the data
>have been completed and sent to the Bundesinstitut fur Arzneimittel
>und Medizinprodukte for publication.
>Part 1: Mercury concentration In saliva from amalgam fillings.
>In the first part of the study mercury levels in the saliva were
>measured in 20,000 persons and related to the number of amalgam
>fillings. The aim was to evaluate whether and to what degree there was
>an exposure to mercury from amalgam fillings. The second part of the
>study examined the relation between the levels of mercury In saliva
>and a special spectrum of symptoms.
>Mercury levels strongly elevated.
>The more than 4-5 times higher mercury levels in saliva compared to
>the levels reported by the former Bundesgesundheitsamt in 1984 (now
>Bundesinstitut fur Arzneimittels und Medizinalprodukte) caused alarm,
>both among the public as well as among professionals. The continuation
>of the analyses were increasingly made more and more difficult for the
>scientists at the University of Tubingen, a sign of the alarming
>nature of the results.
I think jazz and scat singing were alarming too.
>In addition to a great deal of irrelevant
>criticism, it was also reported that WHO had distanced itself from
>interpretations of the Tubingen study, which also proved to be false.
>Especially the exceeding of the established tolerable limits caused
>worry: The total tolerable weekly uptake of mercury (including the
>vapor phase) of WHO was exceeded. About 43 % of the test
>persons had higher, often several fold, exposure than the permissible
>Since it has already been demonstrated that the mercury in the saliva
>is dissolved but not particulate, one has to calculate with a much
>higher absorption and mercury load than previously supposed. Of
>importance is that in the 20-39 year old group (including women in the
>fertile ages) the tolerable levels were especially often exceeded.
>This can be explained by the fact that the number of fillings in this
>group is especially high with 9-11 fillings, compared to a mean of 8
>in the general German population. The tolerable intake was also often
>exceeded for children with fewer fillings because of their lower body
>Mercury load from amalgam fillings.
>As a further statistical result the study established that the mercury
>concentration in saliva (before and after chewing) depends on the
>number amalgam fillings. The exposure lo mercury from amalgam fillings
>has been scientifically debated, The results from the Tubingen study
>clearly show an increased mercury load from amalgam fillings.
>Saliva test a method to establish the mercury load.
>The criticism of the Tubingen amalgam study concentrated on the
>question whether saliva was a better medium than for instance blood
>and urine to evaluate mercury exposure, Recent research confirms the
>advantages of the saliva test. The load on the oral cavity and the
>gastrointestinal tract can be estimated better with the saliva test
>than with any other available method. Hg can be present in both the
>oral cavity and the gastrointestinal tract without being detectable In
>blood or urine. It is clear that blood and urine do not reflect the
>Hg-concentration in the oral cavity/upper airways and in the
>gastrointestinal tract. In addition, it was not possible to obtain
>a certification/standardization for either blood (Dtsch Ges fur
>Arbeitsmed) or urine (Dtsch Ges fur Kiln Chem) in the exposure range
>relevant for amalgam fillings. In contrast, a standardization test by
>the State Medical Dept of Stuttgart confirmed the excellent
>reproducibility for the saliva test; laboratories which processed the
>samples with the same method obtained consistent results; the standard
>error between the 10 laboratories was less than 15 %.
>Part 2. Measured levels In saliva and disease symptoms.
>Every saliva test was accompanied by a questionnaire In which the
>persons were asked for 30 symptoms. The analytical group at Tubingen
>university evaluated 17500 completely answered questionnaires. The
>question was whether there was a significant relation between report
>of a symptom and the measured level of Hg in the saliva after chewing.
>It has to be stressed that the established relation has a direct
>mathematical and statistical character and should not be casually
>interpreted. A statistically significant difference does not
>automatically mean a medical or biological relevance. Not even multi
>variance analysis can decide which relations are caused by chance and
>which by a casual relation.
>Relation between symptoms and mercury concentrations in saliva after
>The Tubingen amalgam study could establish in the especially examined
>group of 21-40 year old persons a statistically significant relation
>between mercury levels in saliva and symptoms. Only symptoms which are
>characteristic of subacute or chronic mercury exposure in the
>low-level range were studied.
>The set of symptoms are often called micromercurialism in the
>There was a significant relation between the measured mercury
>concentration and the following symptoms:
>Mouth-oral cavity: Bleeding gingiva, metal taste, burning tongue.
>Central nervous system: Concentration difficulties, impaired memory,
>sleep disturbances, lack of initiative, nervousness.
>Gastrointestinal tract: not specified; further research is needed to
>establish the diseases which are covered by the non- specific label
>Plausibility and explainability of the demonstrated symptoms.
>In addition to high levels of mercury in saliva there has also been
>demonstrated high levels In gingiva, pulp, oral mucosa, dentine, roots
>and jaw bone. Amalgam fillings, as described in the literature, lead
>to increased inflammation of the gingiva. In addition the oral cavity
>will be affected by the Hg-vapor released by the fillings. Experiments
>with cell cultures demonstrated that the Hg-levels measured in the
>oral tissues (up to 8000 ng/g in the mucosa) can lead to damage to
>human cells. It has also been described that unpolished amalgam
>fillings can damage nearby cells more than polished ones.
>Also for the gastrointestinal tract it has been demonstrated that
>there are high levels of mercury in the intestinal wall, intestinal
>lymph nodes and in feces. The cause of this is that the mercury which
>is swallowed with the saliva is only absorbed to 10% and the rest
>remains in the gastrointestinal tract.
>For both these body parts it has been established that blood and urine
>levels are unsuitable to evaluate the mercury load. The symptoms from
>the central nervous system show a remarkable similarity with the
>classical mercury symptoms described in the literature. For instance,
>effects of mercury on memory and concentration has been repeatedly
>described in the literature.
>The Tubingen group for environmental analysis stress that some aspects
>of the study require further examination. For instance, the
>relationships between mercury exposure to metal allergy, or loss of
>hair, or the relationship to involuntary infertility. In each of these
>considerations, tendencies were noted, however, extensive and
>expensive further questionnaires are required. It should be stressed
>that the results are statistical and do not establish a causal
>relation for single cases for any symptom.
>After the statistical relations found in the study, persons who
>complain over problems with amalgam must not further be dismissed a
>"Ecochondriacs" or "Hypochondriacs," and furthermore a possible
>Hg-load must be take into account in the anamnesis, especially when
>the patients exhibit the described symptomatology.
>Amalgam is with certainty not the material for the future, the
>Tubingen group stress, however they also warn for exaggerated panic
>reactions. As in medicine In general, In every single case one must
>together with the treating doctor evaluate whether an amalgam removal
>is necessary and if yes, how rapidly a removal should take place.
>The relations found, which as stated above, should not be causally
>interpreted, however clearly prove that humans will be exposed to a
>continuous load of mercury from amalgam fillings. The filling material
>amalgam is thus suspected of being able to cause damage to health,
>This should be sufficient for health policy measures and at last start
>to end the amalgam era.
>Demands by BUND as a consequence of the amalgam study:
>BUND demands that minister of health, Seehofer, immediately acts on
>the basis that: Amalgam, as an additional risk factor, does not belong
>in the oral cavity.
>The amalgam ban should not only be restricted to pregnant women and
>children but should immediately be general for dentistry.
>The university dental clinics must immediately remove the technique of
>amalgam placement from their educational agenda, as has already
>happened in renowned dental clinics in Switzerland.
>Teaching and education on amalgam problems, safer removal techniques
>for amalgam filling and on plastic alternatives for molar teeth.
>Further studies are indicated by the amalgam study. The Minister of
>Health Seehofer must not further burden environmental organizations
>with the expenses,
>BUND demands that the Minister of Health release funds for follow-up
>studies at the Uuniversity of Tubingen.
>After an overdue amalgam ban the costs for alternative materials must
>be taken over by the insurance s stem
>Dental metal test can be mediated by all pharmacies. BUND can, in
>cooperation with the environmental analytical group at Tubingen, offer
>under the name SALIVAGAM a dental metal test. This can be mediated by
>all pharmacies. In addition to mercury levels in saliva all other
>dental metal are analyzed. Further information in all pharmacies and
>from BUND-Umweltlabor, Tel: 0781/9383-21, Fox-11
>For answers to scientific matters please contact Dr E Roller, Dr. HD
>Wolss, KH Maier, AK Umweltanalytik, Univ. of Tubingen, Postfach
>210352, D-72026 Tubingen, tel 07071/2984802. Interested journalists
>can obtain detailed information from BUND, Dunanstrasse 16. D-79110
>Freiburg, Tel: 0761/885955-0, Fax-90
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