Health Canada Position Statement on Amalgam
August 1996


1. Although dental amalgam is the single largest source of mercury exposure for average Canadians, current evidence does not indicate that dental amalgam is causing illness in the general population. However, there is a small percentage of the population which is hypersensitive to mercury and can suffer severe health effects from even a low exposure.

2. A total ban on amalgam is not considered justified. Neither is the removal of sound amalgam fillings in patients who have no indication of adverse health effects attributable to mercury exposure.

3. As a general principle, it is advisable to reduce human exposure to heavy metals in our environment, even if there is no clinical evidence of adverse health effects, provided the reduction can be achieved at reasonable cost and without introducing other adverse effects.


Health Canada advises dentists to take the following measures:

1. Non-mercury filling materials should be considered for restoring the primary teeth of children where the mechanical properties of the material are suitable.

2. Whenever possible, amalgam fillings should not be placed in or removed from the teeth of pregnant women.

3. Amalgam should not be placed in patients with impaired kidney function.

4. In placing and removing amalgam fillings, dentists should use techniques and equipment to minimize the exposure of the patient and the dentist to mercury vapour, and to prevent amalgam waste from being flushed into municipal sewage systems.

5. Dentists should advise individuals who may have allergic hypersensitivity to mercury to avoid the use of amalgam. In patients who have developed hypersensitivity to amalgam, existing amalgam restorations should be replaced with another material where this is recommended by a physician.

6. New amalgam fillings should not be placed in contact with existing metal devices in the mouth such as braces.

7. Dentists should provide their patients with sufficient information to make an informed choice regarding the material used to fill their teeth, including information on the risks and benefits of the material and suitable alternatives.

8. Dentists should acknowledge the patient's right to decline treatment with any dental material.

This was copied from the Health Canada website where I copied the entire statement. Now only a summary of the statement exists on the Health Canada website.

End of statement.

Though this statement was not as strong as some would like, it was a step in the right direction. The FDA made reference to the Canadian postion in their last statement about dental amalgam on December 31, 2002. Dr. Mark Richardson, director and risk assessment specialist, Risklogic Scientific Services, Inc., Ottawa, ON Canada, performed a risk assessment concerning dental amalgam before Canada adopted her Health Canada Position Statement on Dental Amalgam, above.

Congressional hearings were conducted on the safety of dental amalgam in Washington, DC on November 14, 2002. Congressman Dan Burton, (R) from Indiana was chairman of these hearings. Dr. Mark Richardson spoke before this hearing and stated (in part) in his "Testimony Before the House Government Reform Committee" :

While an employee of the Canadian federal department of Health, I was directed in 1994 to undertake an assessment of mercury exposure and risks from dental amalgam on behalf of that department. The results of that investigation are available from Health Canada and their departmental Internet site and have also been published in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

Subsequently in 1996, I was commissioned by the government of Sweden to contribute an updated assessment of the risks of dental amalgam for their review of this issue.

But as you might expect, that work received considerable criticism from the dental establishment, in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. Interestingly, however, my work was not unique. At least 14 journal articles and government reports exist on mercury exposure from dental amalgam (Figure 1). One of those reports was authored by a committee of the U.S. Public Health Service, a report that, in fact, concluded that the exposure to mercury occurring from dental amalgam was the same as what I concluded. Therefore, the fact that mercury exposure occurs and the likely levels of that exposure throughout the population are not in doubt.

Mercury from amalgam crosses the placenta and contaminates the unborn fetus, in proportion to the number of amalgam fillings in pregnant women's teeth. Yet, no research has attempted to identify a safe dose, if one exists, for elemental mercury in an unborn child. Mercury from amalgam contaminates breast milk, in proportion to the number of amalgam fillings in nursing mothers' teeth, and amalgam fillings may be placed into the teeth of children as young as 3 years old. Young children are a population group who's central nervous system is still developing and in whom neurological toxins such as mercury are more harmful than in adults. Again, however, we don't know what effects this exposure might be causing.

Several countries, including Canada, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Austria have now taken or initiated steps to reduce or eliminate the use of amalgam as a dental restorative material. Canada has identified an obligation of informed consent and made a series of recommendations regarding in whom amalgam should NOT be used. The identified groups include pregnant women, children, and persons with kidney diseases, among others. In Sweden, with a national socialized dental health care program, the placement of amalgam fillings is no longer funded.
This was only part of Dr. Richardson's testimony. For his complete testimony and other testimonies concerning dental amalgam before the Government Reform Committee on November 14, 2002, see (These November 14th speeches have been taken down off the Government Reform site.)

Dr. Richard D. Fischer, a biological dentist from Annandale, VA, also spoke before the government reform committee. You may read his speech at

Even though Health Canada has these recommendations for dentists, patients are still being poisoned in Canada because most dentists are not following them. One such lady contacted me. She was a dental assistant and became mercury poisoned while working for the dentist. She decided to have her amalgam removed after was diagnosed with a neurological disease. However, even though she was a dental worker, she did not know the proper protocol for the safe removal of amalgam and was further exposed to more mercury vapor. The dentist that removed her amalgam did not follow the recommendations of the Health Canada position statement in reducing patients' exposure to mercury vapor. She was not protected with an alternative source of air and other precautions. She found out the dentist did not even practice the proper hygiene in his office. And she wasn't aware of the Health Canada Postion Statement on Dental Amalgam. She is now detoxing her body of mercury with the help of an alternative doctor.

This position statement from Health Canada was adopted only after much opposition from the Canadian Dental Association. The CDA was completely against this statement and only backed down and said they agreed to it after Health Canada was going to adopt the statement without the CDA approval. In order to not look foolish, the CDA came on board at the last moment and put the Canadian "seal of approval" on this position statement. (Research the archives of Amalgam Listsev for a history of this position statement from Health Canada.) However, one must look for biological dentists to find dentists who truly practice safe protocols in removing mercury in Canada. And a person should also call to question the methods of the biological/holistic dentist.

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Comments © 2002, 2003 by Marie Flowers.