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Dental News: Mercury’s Coming Out of the Dark

November 19th, 2008 · No Comments

dental amaglamsMid-year, the FDA released a new statement about safety issues associated with mercury found in amalgam fillings. Basically, the FDA stated that fetuses and children could suffer adverse effects on the nervous system as a direct result of mercury poisoning. Furthermore, pregnant women and people with mercury sensitivity or a high mercury level are also warned to beware of amalgam fillings. The FDA changed its stand, which for years had approved of amalgam fillings, after a law suit by a Moms Against Mercury. This has caused a stir about mercury. 

In addition, environmental agencies tell us that some ocean dwelling fish show a high mercury content, which could pose problems for us humans who consume them.

Researchers at University of Pittsburgh delved into the mercury problem and came up with a fast way to detect mercury in fish and in dental samples. The team developed a fluorescent substance that, when it contacts alkynes in mercury, glows bright green. Oxidation has been a problem in former methods of mercury testing, but that’s not so with this new procedure.

For detecting mercury in dental fillings, the process takes about half an hour or an hour, and the test can be performed in a dentist’s office. The research also tested mercury leeching from fillings, and it may be used to detect mercury in dental wastewater in the future.

SOURCE: Findings originally published in Journal of the American Chemical Society. This article was created from information at

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