Mercury Lake via Easchiff on Wikicommons

Last week, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Park Service (NPS) released a report showing that mercury pollutes all national parks in the West, from Alaska to Arizona. Some fish were found to be so toxic that people should not even eat one, and others were visibly suffering negative effects of mercury poisoning.

If mercury is toxic enough to create these effects hundreds of miles from the nearest source, is it really wise to have a source of it in our mouths? Perhaps it is time to consider replacing old fillings with tooth-colored fillings or a dental crown.

Mercury Contamination in Isolated Lakes

NPS tested mercury levels in fish in 21 national parks. Every site had some amount of mercury.

One fish in Yosemite National Park was determined to be so hazardous that no one should eat it. About 5% of fish had mercury levels high enough to cause tumors and other health effects in the fish themselves. About 35% of fish had mercury levels high enough to result in poisoning of fish-eating birds, which build up mercury in their system over time. And 68% of fish had mercury levels that meant people should be careful about the amount of fish they ate.

Water gets contaminated by mercury more than land because aquatic bacteria are good at converting mercury into methylmercury, an even more deadly form. Like fish-eating birds, predatory fish build up mercury over time.

Mercury Contamination and Metal Amalgam Fillings

It’s hard not to feel that if mercury contamination is making all these faraway places deadly, perhaps it shouldn’t be in our mouths. There is still a great deal of controversy about how toxic mercury fillings are, but we do know that metal amalgam is a significant contributor to mercury in the air.

We also know that removing mercury fillings will reduce the amount of mercury in your body, though it may take time to reduce mercury levels down to those of people who never had mercury fillings.

To talk to a dentist in Philadelphia about replacing your metal amalgam fillings, please call Dental Excellence of Blue Bell at (610) 272-0828.