American Dental Association, Mercury and Health Fraud, Part 1




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Cancer is a political problem more than it is a medical problem.

See additional mercury related articles:
Heavy Metal Detox,
Health Fraud Part 2

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Rich Murray: Haley: brilliant testimony to Congress on health fraud
re dental amalgam mercury and Alzheimers  Part 1/2  6.12.1 rmforall

June 12 2001  Hello,  Advisory: this is very long, referenced testimony to Congress in two parts by a qualified scientist on the realities of mercury dental amalgam toxicity.  [Just let me know if you want to be off my list!]

Leading Mercury Scientist, Dr. Haley, Refutes ADA in Congressional  Testimony
Part 1/2

Boyd E. Haley  Professor and Chair
Department of Chemistry    University of Kentucky

Dear Mr. Chairman:

At the April 25th meeting of your committee, I gave testimony that the President of the American Dental Association (ADA) takes exception to in a letter sent to you dated 11 May 2001.

Quoting from that letter the testimony the ADA dislikes is "that elementary mercury from dental amalgam could work synergistically with other ethyl-mercury sources and have a cumulative toxic effect on the body. Dr. Haley postulated that this could be a potential cause of autism and Alzheimer's disease (AD)."

I stand by my statement as a sensible concern based on published scientific research regarding synergist toxicities caused by two very toxic agents, mercury and the organic mercury compound thimerosal.

This concern is elevated since mercury exposure from amalgams to a pregnant mother concentrates in the fetus and a single vaccine given to a six-pound newborn is the equivalent of giving a 180 - pound adult 30 vaccinations on the same day.

Include in this the toxic effects of high levels of aluminum and formaldehyde contained in some vaccines, and the synergist toxicity could be increased to unknown levels. Further, it is very well known that infants do not produce significant levels of bile or have adult renal capacity for several months after birth.

Biliary transport is the major biochemical route by which mercury is removed from the body, and infants cannot do this very well. They also do not possess the renal (kidney) capacity to remove aluminum.

Additionally, mercury is a well-known inhibitor of kidney function.

Common sense indicates that the concern I expressed should be taken seriously since we do not know how combined toxicities effect humans, especially in utero. Consider the current epidemic death on birth of over 500 foals from apparently healthy mares around Lexington, KY.

These deaths were identified as being due to a low level toxicity delivered by caterpillars eating poison plants and later, on migration, depositing their waste products on grass being eaten by the mares.

The point being, it is the infant in utero that suffered most on exposure to low level, toxins, not the mother. Combined mercury toxicities can be devastating, as I reference below and in the many references available on the website.

What is needed is research by non-biased scientists to clarify this, something our FDA and NIDCR have refused to do. As the American public find out what has happened regarding this issue, they will be quite angry. This is a biomedical science issue that should have been resolved a long time ago by the responsible federal agencies.

Below, I present detailed and referenced information supporting my case and respond to various statements made by the ADA President that I believe to be misleading and sometimes flagrantly wrong. The ADA seems to think it has the right to select which research it believes and to trash that research that says it is wrong, even though the latter represents the bulk of published research.

To address the issues raised by the ADA President in his letter, I will go in sequential order of the comments made in the letter, placing the ADA comments in italics, and providing scientific references for my conclusions.

"There is no scientifically valid evidence linking either autism or Alzheimer's disease with dental amalgam". First, mercury is a well-known, potent neurotoxicant, and common sense would lead to the conclusion that severe neurotoxins would exacerbate all neurological disorders, including Parkinson's, ALS, MS, autism and AD. Several research papers in refereed, high quality journals and scientific publications have shown that mercury inhibits the same enzymes in normal brain tissues as are inhibited in AD brain samples (1a-c, 2, 3).

AD is pathologically confirmed post-mortem by the appearance of neuro-fibillary tangles (NFTs) and amyloid plaques in brain tissue.

Published research, within the past year, has shown that exposure of neurons in culture to sub-lethal doses of mercury (much less than is observed in human brain tissue) causes the formation of NFTs (4), the increased secretion of amyloid protein and the hyper - phosphorylation of a protein called Tau (5).

All three of these mercury-induced aberrances are regularly identified as the major diagnostic markers for AD.

In the manuscript published in the J. of Neurochemistry (5) the authors state:  "These results indicate that mercury may play a role in the patho-physiological mechanisms of AD." In most of these experiments, mercury and only mercury among the several toxic heavy metals tested, caused the AD related responses reported.

Many medically trained individuals would agree that if something causes the appearance of the pathological hallmarks confirming the disease, then it likely causes the disease. I at least have limited my claims to exacerbation of these diseases to err on the side of caution.

Further, consider this about AD. A study of 500 sets of identical twins from World War II era lead to the conclusion that sporadic AD, which represents 90% of the cases, was not a directly inherited disease. In many cases one twin would get AD and the other would not. Genetic susceptibility is involved, but a toxic exposure is required (e.g., if you are genetically susceptible to being an alcoholic, you still need to be exposed to alcohol to become one).

The work by Rose's group at Johns Hopkins University implicates APO-E genotype as a "risk" factor with APO-E2 being protective and APO-E4 being a major risk factor. APO-E2 has the ability to protect the brain from mercury by having two additional thiol-groups to bind mercury appearing in the cerebrospinal fluid whereas APO-E4 does not have this additional capability (1). This may explain the proven genetic susceptibility to AD of the APO-E4 carriers.

NIH has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to find a causal factor for AD. Yet, no virus, yeast or bacteria has been identified, so the cause remains unknown to general science. The rate of AD per 1,000 population is nearly the same in California, Michigan, Maine, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, etc. It is not significantly different for rural versus urban individuals, or factory workers versus those with outside jobs.

So the primary toxicant that may be involved is most likely not environmental.

Therefore, it must be a very personal toxicant, like what you put in your mouth. Since we place grams of a neurotoxic metal, mercury, in our mouths in the form of dental amalgam, this makes it a good suspect for the exacerbation of AD -- not that all would be affected, just those that are genetically susceptible, or those who become ill enough to fall prey to the toxicity, or those that are also exposed to another synergistic toxin (see below).

The one fact that ties mercury into a major suspect for AD is the fact that most of the proteins/enzymes that are inhibited in AD brain are thiol-sensitive enzymes.

Mercury is one of the most potent chemical inhibitors of thiol-sensitive enzymes and mercury vapor easily penetrates into the central nervous system (2).

Mercury is not the only toxicant to inhibit thiol-sensitive enzymes. Thimerosal and lead will do this also, as well as reactive oxygen compounds created in oxidative stress and many other industrial compounds.

However, mercury has been reported to be significantly elevated in AD brain (14a,b, 15). Mercury is in many mouths being emitted from dental amalgam and absolutely would exacerbate the clinical condition identified as AD. Therefore, mercury should be considered as a causal contributor, since mercury can produce the two pathological hallmarks of the disease, and inhibits the same thiol-sensitive enzymes that are dramatically inhibited in AD brain.

It is documented by a 1991 World Health Organization report that dental amalgams constitute the major human exposure to  mercury.

Grams of mercury are in the mouths of individuals with several amalgam fillings. Further, the level of blood and urine mercury positively correlates with the number of amalgam fillings. This was confirmed by a recently published NIH funded study (6). Therefore, I fail to see the ADA's viewpoint that there is no scientifically valid evidence linking mercury from amalgams to exacerbating AD, especially since mercury produces the diagnostic hallmarks of AD (4,5).

The ADA hides behind the fact that there has not been an epidemiological study to attempt to correlate mercury exposure and AD. However, absence of proof is not proof of absence. This also begs the question why the ADA, the FDA and the National Institutes of Dental Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) have not pushed for such a study. These agencies know this would be immensely expensive and only the U.S. government could afford to support any reliable long-term study.

Yet, these same responsible agencies have failed to confirm as safe the placing into the mouth of Americans grams of the most toxic heavy metal Americans are exposed to.

The dental branch of the FDA has steadfastly refused to investigate the toxic potential of dental amalgam.

Look at the references in the ADA letter!

Even they must quote Scandinavian literature to support their contentions of safety, and even then they have to reference papers on fertility instead of  neurotoxicity! Where is the ADA, FDA and NIDCR supported U.S. research in this area? Go to the NIH web-sites and look for research on the safety of mercury from amalgams, or try to find an NIH study concerning possible mercury involvement in any common neurological diseases.

NIH does support research on methyl-mercury, as we seem to like beating up on the fishing industry whilst leaving the dental industry alone. However, according to the NIH study about 90% of the mercury in our bodies is elemental mercury, not methyl - mercury, showing the exposure is more likely from dental amalgams rather than fish (6). Support at NIH has been very sparse for investigating the relationship of elemental mercury exposure to neurological diseases.

"And there is no scientifically valid evidence demonstrating in vivo transformation of inorganic mercury into organo mercury species in individuals occupationally exposed to amalgam mercury vapor".

There was a paper published entitled "Methylation of Mercury from Dental Amalgam and Mercuric Chloride by Oral Streptococci in vitro" (19). This strongly indicates that "organo mercury species" are indeed capable of being made in the human body and may explain the appearance of methyl-mercury in the blood and urine of individuals who don't eat seafood.

Further, periodontal disease is considered one of the major risk factors for stroke, heart and cardiovascular disease and late onset, insulin independent diabetes. Many studies of the toxicants produced in periodontal disease have identified hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and methane-thiol (CH3SH) as major toxic products of infective anerobic bacteria in the mouth, metabolizing the amino acids cysteine and methionine, respectively.

These volatile thiol-compounds are what cause bad-breath! Methane-thiol (CH3SH) would react immediately and spontaneously in the mouth with amalgam generated mercury cation to produce the following two compounds, CH3S-HgCl and CH3S-Hg-SCH3, which are organo-mercurial compounds (check this out with any competent chemist). They are also very similar in structure to methyl-mercury (CH3-HgCl) and dimethyl-mercury (CH3-Hg-CH3), the latter which caused the highly publicized death of a University of Dartmouth chemistry professor 10 months after she spilled two drops on her gloved hand.

We have synthesized CH3S-HgCl and CH3-Hg-CH3 in my laboratory and tested their toxicity in comparison to Hg2+. As expected, they were both more toxic than Hg2+ and this data is available on the web-site. Therefore, the ADA President is badly misinformed on this issue. Additionally, I am amazed that the researchers at the ADA and NIDCR did not previously report on this obvious chemistry, as I would imagine this is the kind of topic they should be addressing.

"Based on currently available scientific evidence, the ADA believes that dental amalgam is a safe, affordable and durable material for all but a handful of individuals who are allergic to one of its components. It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which chemically binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance."

This is a totally wrong statement unless you underline the "ADA believes" and define how big is a "handful of individuals". Sensible people want "believes" replaced with "knows" and a "handful" replaced with a "hard number".

Amalgams emit dangerous levels of mercury and the ADA absolutely refuses to accept this fact or even to study the possibility.

Otherwise, the ADA administrators seem to be unable to separate fact from fiction.  Consider, if they wanted to destroy my argument on amalgam toxicity they would reference several solid, refereed publications showing that mercury is not emitted from dental amalgams-- but they cannot do this with even one article.

They always state the "estimate" is that a very, very, very small amount. Competent, well-informed researchers don't use the evasive language used in the ADA President's letter. They would state the amount is so many micrograms mercury released per centimeter squared amalgam surface area, and a "handful of individuals" would be a percentage of our population! Let's look at the published literature.

First, careful evaluation of the amount of mercury emitted from a commonly used dental amalgam in a test tube with 10 ml of water was presented in an article entitled "Long-term Dissolution of Mercury from a Non-Mercury-Releasing Amalgam". This study showed that "the over-all mean release of mercury was 43.5 ± 3.2 micrograms per cm2/day, and the amount remained fairly constant during the duration of the experiments (2 years)" (7).

This was without pressure, heat or galvanism, as would have occurred if the amalgams were in a human mouth. Further, research where amalgams containing radioactive mercury were placed in sheep and monkeys, showed the radioactivity collecting in all body tissues and especially high in the jaw and facial bones. (8,9).

Another publication, from a major U.S. School of Dentistry, stated that solutions in which amalgams had been soaked were "severely cytotoxic initially when Zn release was highest" (13). Zn is a needed element for body health, and is found in very low percentages in dental amalgams when compared to mercury. Why mercury was not mentioned in the abstract of this publication baffles me. Why would the statement be true? Because Zn2+ is a synergist that enhances mercury toxicity!

However, does this sound like amalgams are a safe, stable material? We have repeated similar amalgam soaking experiments in my laboratory, and the results can be seen at Cadmium (from smoking), lead, zinc and other heavy metals enhanced mercury toxicity, as expected (this research is currently being prepared for publication).

The ADA claim that a zinc oxide layer is formed on the amalgams that decreases mercury release is true, if you don't use the teeth.

The zinc oxide layer would be easily removed by slight abrasion, such as chewing food or brushing the teeth. Further, my laboratory has confirmed that solutions in which amalgams have been soaked can cause the inhibition of brain proteins that are inhibited by adding mercury chloride, and these are the same enzymes inhibited in AD brain samples.

Further, mercury emitting from a dental amalgam can be easily detected, using the same mercury vapor analysis instrument used by OSHA and the EPA to monitor mercury levels.

Anyone who does not believe mercury is emitted from amalgams should consider doing the following.

Have your local dentist make 10 amalgams using the same material he/she places in your mouth. Take these 10 amalgams to your nearest research university's department of chemistry or toxicology department, and have them determine how much mercury is being emitted. For example, have them calculate how long it would take a single spill of hardened amalgam to make a gallon of water too toxic to pass EPA standards as drinking water.

You will then have an answer from an unbiased, solid group of scientists who are trained to do such determinations. Also, remember the level of mercury they measure would not include the increase that would occur with amalgams in the mouth where chewing, grinding your teeth, drinking hot liquids and galvanism greatly increase the release of mercury. Since this approach can be easily done by anyone, don't you think the ADA, FDA and other amalgam supporters would have this published by now, if the level of mercury released was below the danger level?

Here is their attempt.

According to an ADA spokesman, he has "estimated" that only 0.08 micrograms of mercury per amalgam per day is taken into the human body. Applying simple math to this "estimate" of 0.08 micrograms/ day, one would divide this amount by 8,640 (24 hours/day X 60 minutes/hour X 6 ten second intervals/minute) to determine the amount of mercury in micrograms available for a ten second mercury vapor analysis.

Consider that somewhere between one-half to five-sixths of the mercury released would be into the tooth (that area of the amalgam that exists below the visibly exposed amalgam surface) and not into the oral air. In addition, some mercury in the oral air would be rapidly absorbed into the saliva and oral mucosa (mercury loves hydrophobic cell membranes) and also not be measured by the mercury analyzer.

Further, as the mercury analyzer pulls mercury containing oral air into the analysis chamber, mercury free ambient air rushes into the oral cavity, decreasing the mercury concentration. Taking all of this into account, you can calculate that most mercury analyzers could not detect this "estimated" 0.08 micrograms / day level of mercury, even if you had several amalgams.

However, the fact is that it is quite easy to detect mercury emitting from one amalgam using these analyzers. Therefore, the "estimate" by this ADA spokesman is way too low.

Also, if you gently rub the amalgam with a tooth-brush the amount of mercury emitted goes up dramatically. This is a test anyone can do and demonstrate to any group. The ADA spokesmen state that the mercury vapor analyzer is not accurate at determining oral mercury levels, and they are quite correct.

However, using this instrument would greatly underestimate the amount of mercury exiting the amalgam. The very fact that the mercury analyzer detects high levels of oral mercury strongly indicates the emitted amount of mercury is too high to be acceptable.

Mercury release from dental amalgams is also the reason OSHA has used this analyzer to make the dentists place unused amalgam in a sealed container under liquid glycerin. This is done so that the mercury vapors from the amalgams will not contaminate the dental office, making it an unsafe place to work.

This is also the reason the EPA insists that removed amalgam filling and extracted teeth containing amalgam material be picked up and disposed of as toxic waste. Apparently, the only safe place for amalgams is in the human mouth, if you believe what the ADA believes.

"Amalgams have been used for 150 years and, during that time, has established an extensively reviewed record of safety and effectiveness."

First, what other aspect of industry or medicine is still using the same basic manufactured material that they used 150 years ago? One has to ask the question as to what has hindered the progress of development of better and safer dental materials?

Also, consider that in the early 1900s the average life expectancy of most Americans was about 50 years of age, and most of them could not afford dental fillings.

Fifty to sixty years is much less than the average age of onset of AD. Further, amalgams became more available to most working class Americans after World War II, or in the early 1950s. The greatest increase in the use of amalgam occurred at about this time, and these 'baby boomers are the great ongoing amalgam experiment'.

They are now reaching the age where AD appears, and have lived most of their lives carrying amalgam fillings. They also wonder what is causing their chronic fatigue, as the physicians can find nothing systemically wrong with them. I would encourage all concerned to contact the health experts on the rate of increase of AD in the U.S.A. at this time.

Consider the cost it will place on the taxpayer and how much we would save if we could even remove the exacerbation factors that might speed up the onset of AD. I must point out that the "extensively reviewed record of safety" mentioned in the ADA letter was mostly done by dentists and committees dominated by ADA dentists.

Also, much of the "safety opinion" was developed long before words like Alzheimer's disease and chronic fatigue were commonplace. Further, these were "reviews", and not carefully documented studies based on scientific experimentation, and done by unqualified dentists, not medical scientists. Dentists are not trained to do basic research, nor are they trained in toxicology.

Furthermore, the ADA does have a vested interest in keeping amalgam use legitimate. The ADA was founded on using amalgam technology and participated in patenting and licensing amalgam technology. One has to question why there has not been a general outcry by the bulk of well-meaning dentists and their patients, and this question should be addressed.

The International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, started by American & Canadian dentists, does adamantly disagree with the ADA on the issue of safety of dental amalgams, and this organization has the mantra of "Show me your science" with regards to all dental issues.

Part 2/2  and References

Boyd E. Haley  Professor and Chair
Department of Chemistry    University of Kentucky
Department       Chemistry
Address            125 Chemistry-Physics Building 0055
859 257-7082   Fax  859 257-3936  Home  859 887-4341
Department2      Advanced Science and Technology-ASTeCC
Address2           A057 ASTeCC Building 0286
Phone2               859 257-2300
*******************************************************  many links
Australasian Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
PO Box A860   Sydney South    NSW 2000 Australia    +61-2-9867-1111   FAX: +61-2-9283-2230
International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
Michael F. Ziff, Executive Director   1-407-298-2450    extensive references

Rich Murray, MA  Room For All
1943 Otowi Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

M.I.T. (physics and history, BA, 1964), Boston U. Graduate School
(psychology, MA, 1967): As a concerned layman, I want to clarify the
aspartame toxicity debate.
long 40K summary

Excellent 5-page review by H.J. Roberts in "Townsend Letter",
Jan 2000,  "Aspartame (NutraSweet) Addiction"
H.J. Roberts, M.D.
Sunshine Sentinel Press 6708 Pamela Lane West Palm Beach, FL 33405
800-814-9800 561-588-7628 561-547-8008 fax
1038 page text   "Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic"
published May 30  2001    $ 85.00 postpaid    data from 1200 cases    34 chapters


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