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Mercury in the air at dental clinics


Below you will find Dr. Robbins responded to a post on the PAGD website regarding mercury in the air at dental clinics.

You can find the original post below:

  • Toxicologists have confirmed the pathophysiology of mercury toxicity: the residence time of mercury in the blood is very low.  Rather, mercury is distributed throughout the body – liquid and solid tissues – and deposits to fatty tissues and organs.  Depending on an individual’s ability to detoxify xenobiotics, even limited exposure mercury would lead to storage (and redistribution) of mercury to body tissues.
  • Based on normal work exposure for dental office staff, it is highly likely that most dentists have a body burden of mercury from years of latent exposure.

Scientific and clinical research, published in journals other than those specifically aligned with the ADA and the American dental community, follow accepted, rigorous scientific method and identify the potential consequences of mercury exposure on patients of all ages. Several studies, conducted outside of the USA, have shown the true devastation mercury exposure can cause.  A few key articles are identified for you edification.

  • Br Dent J. 2001 Oct 27;191(8):449-52.
  • Blood mercury levels of dental students and dentists at a dental school.
  • Tezel H1, Ertas OS, Erakin C, Kayali A.
  • Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2003 Mar;134(3):375-83.
  • Effects of small concentrations of mercury on the contractile activity of the rat ventricular myocardium.
  • de Assis GP, Silva CE, Stefanon I, Vassallo DV.
  • Environ Res. 2008 May;107(1):69-78. Epub 2007 Sep 4.
  • Blood and urine mercury levels in adult amalgam patients of a randomized controlled trial: interaction of Hg species in erythrocytes.
  • Halbach S, Vogt S, Köhler W, Felgenhauer N, Welzl G, Kremers L, Zilker T, Melchart D.
  • Ann Epidemiol. 2006 Jun;16(6):439-47. Epub 2005 Nov 7.
  • Effects of prenatal exposure to mercury on cognitive and psychomotor function in one-year-old infants: epidemiologic cohort study in Poland.
  • Jedrychowski W, Jankowski J, Flak E, Skarupa A, Mroz E, Sochacka-Tatara E, Lisowska-Miszczyk I, Szpanowska-Wohn A, Rauh V, Skolicki Z, Kaim I, Perera F.

With regard to a single blood test demonstrating low levels of mercury, please note: many of my patients have had negative blood tests for mercury when that blood test order was written by their general practitioner (ie, a healthcare professional not specifically trained in toxicology or environmental medicine).

However, when a physician who is specifically trained in toxicology and environmental medicine orders a blood mercury level to be determined, these physicians follow a specific protocol, namely the patient completes a DMPS or DMSA challenge prior to the blood draw.

DMPS or DMSA mobilizes mercury from individual’s fat tissues and consequently analysis of a blood sample drawn after a challenge show mercury levels significantly higher, and, in many cases, at levels which are commonly recognized to be harmful to normal physiologic and cognitive function.


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