Bedford Bulletin Editorials

Mary Ann Newell is both a DAMS Activist and a member of Consumers for Dental Choice. She helped organize the Mercury Awareness Team in the state of Washington and helped get legislation passed in Washington to limit thimerosol in vaccines in children under three.

Mary Ann finds it thrilling to get articles published in newspapers around the country. I will have to send her an original copy of this newspaper article to add to her collection of published editorials she has written.

If your story about mercury poisoning has recently been published in a newspaper, email Mary Ann at

More Editorials Published Online

Published online December 20, 2006
and In the Letters to Editor, December 27, 2006

Incomplete, inaccurate

Michael Davis' comments about amalgam fillings are incomplete and contain many inaccuracies. I hope you will print some hard facts to help the public understand the real issues.

First, the FDA conclusions on amalgam safety were rejected by the independent panel by a 2/3 majority in Oct. 2006. The panel had some harsh words for the FDA on limiting their scope of the studies they used to reach the conclusions presented, and have recommended more study. Secondly, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not find amalgam fillings to be safe. In fact in their 2005 report, they actually conclude: "Recent studies suggest that mercury may have no threshold below which some adverse effects do not occur. " I wonder why he thinks a known neuro-toxin would be safe.

Congressman Dan Burton conducted four years of Congressional hearings on mercury including testimony regarding dental amalgam. (Mercury amalgams are actually 50 percent mercury.) During the hearings, the FDA was asked how many scientific studies the FDA has on file showing ill effects of dental amalgam and they stated hundreds. When asked how many they had showing their safety, they replied zero. There is a wealth of peer reviewed scientific data on the detrimental effects to human health from mercury and mercury amalgam. It makes absolutely no sense to put the second most toxic substance on earth into the human body when alternatives are easily available.

I would be interested in seeing the "scientific facts" he refers to. No dentist or dental association has yet produced one peer reviewed scientific study showing safety, despite their claims that they exist. The most recent study on children, actually showed that the children with amalgam did indeed excrete more mercury than their counterparts with non-amalgam fillings.

"The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) reports that mercury levels in household wastewater are sufficiently high to pose Clean Water Act compliance problems for the nation's wastewater treatment plants. Although several sources contributing to the domestic mercury concentrations have been identified, human wastes (feces and urine) from individuals with dental amalgam fillings are believed to be the most significant source greater than 80 percent." The Naval Dental Research lab states this wastewater mercury can methylate and enter the food chain as methyl mercury, adding to water pollution and higher mercury levels in fish.

In many states, the mercury vapors in the mouth of a patient with dental amalgams is 10 to 100 times the toxic ambient air standards, and they breathe it every day.

Dental amalgam also causes serious problems upon cremation due to the mercury released into the air. The situation is so grave that the UK is shutting many cremation sites and Sweden is moving to freeze drying their dead so the mercury from dental amalgams can be more easily pulled out.

When talking about durability and affordability, it should be noted that a mercury amalgam filling requires the removal of more live tissue than other options, leaving the tooth more vulnerable to fracture. Fractures often result in root canals and crowns, and when those costs are factored in, mercury amalgam is no longer the most affordable. Sweden concluded, after a seven-year intensive study of dental amalgam, that there is no situation in which mercury amalgam is a necessary option, and they have banned its use.

Folks should consult Web sites that offer actual science rather than opinion, especially from those with a financial interest. Visit The International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology and

Susan Premo

Worcester, Vt

Dental amalgams

December 29, 2006

Thank you, thank you, thank you for exposing the mercury in the dental amalgams. Excellent article.

I am from the Chicago area and am mercury poisoned from the dental amalgams also. Misdiagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, bed-ridden for 10 years, on eight different medications including chemotherapy, all symptoms gradually stopped after amalgam removal, only, I'm in a wheelchair.

2,000 dockets have been sent to the FDA...but they are still in denial.

Linda M. Brocato

Chicago, Ill.

Also a victim

December 29, 2006

Thank you for your excellent article and interview with Marie Flowers about the illnesses and symptoms she endured as a result of commonly used amalgam dental fillings. I am also a victim of dental industry deception. As most Americans, I was not informed by my dentist prior to dental treatment that "silver" fillings contain 50 percent mercury and may be hazardous to health.

In 1998 seven days after having an old amalgam filling drilled out and replaced with a new one I was struck with double vision and diagnosed by three neurologists with Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus and Myasthenia Gravis. Knowing too well that these diseases would cause a lifetime of debilitating symptoms and in all likelihood premature death, I initiated research to determine what had caused the onset of neurological symptoms and discovered it was mercury vapor released during the dental treatment. I also learned that I had been exposed to chronic exposure to mercury vapor inhaled from 12 fillings which I had had in my teeth for years. Within the next months I had all 12 fillings safely removed by a biologic mercury- free dentist and slowly recovered.

The American Dental Assoc. and the Food and Drug Assoc. have not been honest with the public about the major component of "silver" fillings (50 percent mercury) . The American Dental Association promoted amalgam fillings as "silver" in written patient brochures... With governmental and state warnings about neurological injury to the fetus and young children from consumption of mercury laden fish and from coal refinery emissions, the deception by the dental industry and governmental health agencies has been egregiously irresponsible. ... ADA rhetoric claiming that mercury fillings cannot cause systemic illnesses is old hat and cannot scientifically be substantiated by the organization or the FDA.

The public deserves, at the very least, "informed consent" prior to a dentist implanting a neurotoxin in their bodies. When 183 cases of illness due to E. coli infection were reported to the CDC due to consuming contaminated spinach, consumers were advised not to purchase or consume spinach if they weren't able to verify that it was safe. When three cases of suicidal tendencies were reported resulting from the drug Prozac, the FDA issued warnings. The FDA received 762 amalgam illness Patient Adverse Reaction Reports in 1993 and now 2,000 submissions to the FDA Docket.

Freya B. Koss
Consultant, IAOMT

An interesting read

December 29, 2006

I read with great interest the recent article in the Bedford Bulletin concerning the effects of mercury in teeth.

As a Forest resident, I thought Marie Flower's story was very interesting and informative for myself along with the people in Bedford County. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that a current illness may be a secondary symptom to mercury poisoning instead. Thanks to you, your article shed some light on how mercury in teeth can affect many other areas of the body which could be extremely debilitating.

I have read many other articles in the past about mercury fillings and have stayed away from them because I was aware of the possible negative side effects.

Thanks again for informing the people. As Martha Stewart would say; "That's a good thing!"

Nancy Kartowski


Dentist opposes use of amalgam filling
by C. Frederick Smith, DDS, MS, FAGD
January 4, 2006

Recently you published an article in which a dentist stated that he feels dental amalgam filling material is safe to use. He repeated the American Dental Association's (ADA) claim that dental amalgam has been used for over 150 years and that it is safe to use in the mouth. When I was told as a dental student over 30 years ago that amalgam contained mercury, I was very concerned. My dental professors at that time assured me that mercury could not leak out of the filling material and, although I doubted the validity of that statement, because I had worked as a research chemist before going to dental school, I did not think it wise to disagree with my professors.

Shortly after graduating from dental school in 1977, I began to research the safety of dental amalgam or silver filling material as it is sometimes called. I now call them mercury/silver dental fillings because the major component, 50 percent, is mercury, with silver being about 35 percent and other metals making up the rest of the mixture. I hold a Master's Degree in Chemistry and a minor in Biochemistry, so I have a high respect for the toxicity of elemental mercury. I also belong to a dental professional organization, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, (IAOMT), whose major concern is with the safety of the dental materials, based on scientific evidence, which we dentists use in the mouth to restore teeth.

Scientific research has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that elemental mercury evaporates from amalgam fillings as mercury vapor. When a piece of 25 year old amalgam filling that had been removed from a patient's tooth was lightly touched and then examined with an electron microscope, tiny balls of liquid unbound mercury could be seen beading up on the surface of the filling. With special black lighting mercury vapor has even been photographed evaporating off of dental amalgam.

Animal studies have shown that mercury vapor breathed in is 80 percent absorbed by the blood in the lungs and then becomes a cumulative toxin that the body has to dispose of. These studies have also demonstrated that mercury from amalgam fillings accumulates in distant organs within a few weeks of placement in the mouth. Mercury is most definitely not locked into these mercury/silver dental fillings but can escape as a vapor and in other ways also.

The position of the ADA is that although mercury vapor does evaporate off an amalgam, it is not at a harmful level. The position of the World Health Organization (WHO) is that any mercury in the body greater than "zero" is harmful. In 1990 the WHO reviewed exposure to mercury vapor from amalgam and concluded that mercury released from amalgam is by far the major source of human exposure to mercury. The consumer is now put in the awkward position of whom to believe: the ADA who is in favor of amalgam use or the WHO that states that it is the major contributing factor to human mercury exposure.

In September 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a meeting in which an advisory panel of physicians and dentists reviewed "The Draft FDA White Paper" as to the safety of mercury/silver fillings or amalgam. The panel heard from FDA "invited quests" and others about the research related to amalgam and, not surprisingly, all of the FDA "invited quests" supported the continued use of mercury, including Rod Mackert, a paid spokesperson for the ADA.

Despite this pro-amalgam support, 9 out of 10 of the neurologists on the advisory panel voted that the FDA White Paper did not objectively and clearly present the current state of knowledge about exposure [to mercury] and health effects related to dental amalgam. They also voted 9 out of 10 to say that "Given the amount and quality of information available for the FDA Draft White Paper, the conclusions [that amalgam is safe] were not reasonable". Even 4 of the 10 dentists on the advisory panel voted with the neurologists in this landmark finding against the safety of amalgam. So far the FDA Docket has received over 3,000 submissions from individuals adversely affected by dental amalgam.

As I understand it, the FDA has only two positions. A material is either safe or not safe. If the advisory panel would not make a statement that amalgam is safe, then what are we to assume but that it is not safe?

We currently have suitable materials to replace amalgam in most all situations. I have not found it necessary to use mercury/silver dental filling material in most teeth since 1984 and not in any teeth since 1998. In fact the ADA estimates that currently over 50 percent of posterior teeth are restored with non-amalgam filling material and a recent survey found that one third of dentists do not use mercury/silver dental filling material at all. It is true that placing tooth-colored composite restorations requires more time, thus increasing their cost. However, they do have some major advantages.

They are very conservative of the patient's natural tooth structure and require only that the decayed portion of the tooth be removed. They also bond the remaining tooth structure together, giving the tooth back almost its original strength which reduces the risk of fracture. They match the natural tooth color so the teeth do not appear dark and gray like teeth with amalgam. They can even be placed on the surfaces of a child's permanent teeth as a sealant to prevent decay from penetrating the grooves that are so often the first site of a filling in a child.

Rod Mackert, the paid spokesperson for the ADA, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal cautioning against amalgam removal because that procedure causes excessive mercury exposure. This is true unless the patient is protected utilizing the safe amalgam removal protocols pioneered by the IAOMT. Mr. Mackert, however, did not mention the fact which it is equally true that placing an amalgam will cause a large bolus dose of mercury release followed by a continuous low dose release for the life of the mercury/silver dental filling material.

Unfortunately, when dentists place and remove dental mercury containing amalgam, they expose themselves, their staff, and their patients to toxic mercury vapor and amalgam dust particles unless they take special precautions to minimize the exposure as recommended by the IAOMT. Mercury vapor is colorless, odorless and tasteless. If we cannot see it, smell it, or taste it, it's very hard to believe that it is present. The ADA recommends that the dental treatment rooms be well ventilated, but without some sort of monitoring and well defined protection and containment procedures, mercury exposure will inevitably occur.

This issue of mercury toxicity from amalgam fillings will not go away until mercury/silver dental filling material is completely removed from dentistry. There are many organizations besides the IAOMT that are fighting hard to eliminate or restrict the use of mercury/silver fillings as a dental restorative material as has been done in Sweden, Germany, Austria, Canada and England for high risk patients such as pregnant women and children. When other countries have had a fair and balanced review of the currently available scientific research on mercury containing dental filling material, and have found it to be unsuitable as a dental restorative material, it is disturbing that the United States, usually a leader on these issues, is so far behind other countries.

I personally feel that the use of mercury containing dental filling material should be discontinued in this country as soon as possible, and immediately in those individuals most at risk, such as pregnant women and children. If the discontinued use of mercury containing amalgam has been successfully accomplished in other countries, I am sure we can be as equally successfully in eliminating its use in the United States.

(The information given in this letter is the opinion of the author. Please consult your local physician for more dental health/medical information.)

C. Frederick Smith, DDS, MS, FAGD


Appreciates coverage
January 26, 2007

I am writing in regards to a series of articles that were published in the Bedford Bulletin a few weeks ago regarding Marie Flowers and her battle with mercury poisoning that resulted from amalgam fillings. Primarily, I would like to thank you for your coverage on the subject. I have been searching for information on this subject, and while there is much available, it is comforting to see that this it is being covered in the state of Virginia.

I am a 26-year-old librarian in the state of Virginia, and for nearly 13 years I have suffered from various health problems. Some of these problems include, but are not limited to: shingles, chronic fatigue, and severe vitamin deficiencies. It is a constant battle for me to do simple everyday tasks.

My health problems have resulted in numerous visits to varying doctors who just "don't know what the problem is." At one point in time, I had eight amalgam fillings in my mouth. I now have four and I cannot have them removed soon enough. I am now lucky enough to have a doctor who acknowledges the dangers of mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings.

Mercury poisoning as a result of amalgam fillings is an important issue that must be resolved. Parents are paying dentists to place mercury into their children's mouths because it is affordable and because they are offered no other option. I continuously have to ask for white fillings as opposed to amalgam fillings. The possibility that amalgam fillings can make an individual ill must be made known to the general public.

I have lost many years of my life due to serious illnesses that have never been explained. Upon removal of my amalgam fillings I strongly suspect that my symptoms will become better.

I applaud Marie Flowers on her activism against amalgam fillings. In addition, I applaud the Bedford Bulletin for covering her story and the issues surrounding mercury poisoning and amalgam fillings.

Shelly L. Hypes

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