Mercury: The Most Toxic Heavy Metal Threat Today
By Pamela Levin, R.N.
This article is in response to your questions about what the most toxic metal is facing us today, what the main sources of exposure are, and what we can do about it.
Q. What is the most toxic metal facing us today?
A. Today, without a doubt, mercury (chemical symbol Hg) is number one, having replaced lead. Mercury:
· Reduces the effectiveness of antibiotics against bacteria.
· results in abnormally low-voltage electrocardiograms in other words, it depresses heart function),
· contributes to intractable infections and pre-cancerous conditions (it exists in the nuclei of all cancerous and pre-cancer cells)
· boosts free radical production, thus exacerbating radiation damage from X-rays and UV light.
· correlates significantly with the number of dental amalgam fillings of the mother in the liver, kidney and brain of babies who die from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) correlate
· Lowers levels of a number of brain neurotransmitters including serotonin, adequate levels of which are essential to assure control of impulses and emotions. Low serotonin contributes to depression, anger, anxiety, addictions, attention deficit, and suicide.
To summarize, mercury is: cytotoxic (kills cells); neurotoxic (kills brain and nerve cells and inhibits production of neurotransmitters; nephrotoxic (toxic to kidneys); an endocrine disruptor (very little mercury depresses the pituitary gland, disrupts enzyme production processes and hormonal function); causes cardiovascular damage; is a reproductive and developmental toxin that damages DNA and inhibits DNA & RNA synthesis; damages sperm, lowers sperm counts and reduces motility; causes menstrual disturbances; reduces blood supply to the developing fetus, causes reduced iodine uptake & hypothyroidism & learning deficits, causes learning disabilities and impairment and reduction in IQ, and causes immune system damage resulting in allergies, asthma, and multiple sensitivities.
(See http://www.mercuryexposure.org for references.)
Q. What are the main sources of exposure?
A. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dental amalgam is the primary source of exposure , emitting mercury 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As Boyd Haley, Ph.D. points out, “According to the NIH study about 90% of the mercury in our bodies is elemental mercury, not methyl-mercury, showing the exposure is more likely from dental amalgams rather than fish´ According to the World Health Organization and Health Canada, the level of mercury in people with amalgam fillings causes a body burden of mercury much higher than they would get from eating mercury- contaminated fish from Florida waters that carry government health warnings. (Less than a gram of mercury in a ten acre lake would stimulate a warning not to eat the fish. Nearly half of
’s lakes now carry this warning). According to the San Francisco Environmental Commision, dental amalgam disposal is responsible for 65% of the mercury contamination in
Far down the list in second place is fish, who are receiving far more press about it than dental amalgams. The media are sending the message to limit consumption of certain fish, but are not saying to avoid the primary source of exposure, amalgam fillings or to have them removed. Again, Dr. Haley: “We seem to like beating up on the fishing industry whilst leaving the dental industry alone.”
A third source is drugs and vaccines. The flu vaccine contains mercury. This is of concern to everyone, but of special concern to fetuses and newborns, since “mercury exposure from amalgams to a pregnant mother concentrates in the fetus and a single vaccine given to a six-pound newborn is the equivalent of giving a 180-pound adult 30 vaccinations on the same day.” (See http://www.whale.to/m/haley.html )
Fertilizer is now an additional source of mercury exposure due to the recent practice of “recycling” toxic waste by turning it into fertilizer, thus contaminating fields and the water tables under them. According to former U.S. Congressman Dan Hamburg,
is one of only four states that regulate heavy metal content in fertilizer. However, it currently regulates only arsenic, cadmium and lead and does not regulate mercury.
Q. What can we do about it?
A. Personal Action: Take responsibility for knowing what is being put in your body, even when it is about to be put there by a licensed health professional. That means, to avoid the first source of exposure, making certain your dentist knows, in writing, and put in your chart, that you do not want any amalgam fillings in your mouth. Currently more than 200 million people - some 85% of the population - have at least one cavity filled with mercury amalgam. The Toxic Element Research Foundation (TERF) has compared the true impact of amalgam poisoning to that of the
tragedy. "The magnitude of the crisis is not the few who have died from massive exposure, but rather it is the millions whose health will be eroded by the ongoing, small-dose poisoning."
This also means checking the contents before purchasing or consuming medicines. Clip and carry these medicine and vaccine lists, as all contain mercury but only some are labeled:
· Meningococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (Aventis Pasteur),
· Td Vaccine (Adventis Pasteur),
· Tetanus Toxoid Absorbed Vaccine and Tetanus Toxoid Vaccine (Adventis Pasteur),
· Td Vaccine (
Dept. of Health),
· Influenza Virus Vaccine, known as Fluzone (Aventis Pasteur), Pediatric DT Vaccine (Aventis Pasteur),
· Pediotic (neomycin and polymyxin B sulfates and hydrocortisone otic suspension (Monarch Pharmaceuticals),
· Viroptic Opthalmic Solution, 1% (trifluridine ophthalmic solution), Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfates and Gramicidin Opthalmic Solution (Bausch and Lomb), and
Saline Nasal Mist (B.F. Archer &Co.
(For information about vaccines, call the
at 909 SHOT. For information on recent hearings on heavy metals, see SAFEMINDS.org. For information on the amalgam issue, see amalgam.org.)
As long as this situation and the conflicts of interest that allow it are not corrected, always insist on reading the label on all vaccines (insist on seeing the vial from which the vaccine will be drawn BEFORE it is drawn up and watch while it is drawn up, if it is a multiple-dose vial) and read the labels on over-the-counter products, especially nasal drops, eye drops and contact lens solutions. If you are an Rh-negative mother, remember that, although Thimerosal-free Rho-GAM became available in 2002, the supply of mercury-containing Rho-GAM is still on the market. Remember the word “thimerosal” means it contains 49.6% mercury. This is especially important because fifty-three percent of mothers of autistic children are Rh negative, while only three percent of mothers of normal children are Rh-negative.
Political action is an essential part of eliminating the mercury problem from modern life. The safe drinking water and toxic enforcement act of 1986 (prop 65) requires the governor to publish a list of chemicals “known to the State to cause cancer, birth defects, or reproductive harm” and requires
businesses to warn the public quarterly of potential exposures. Under this law, it would seem reasonable for companies that manufacture the above-named vaccines and medicines, dental supply companies and dentists to issue warnings about the mercury in their products.
One result of political action is that
dental offices have been required since
November 15th, 2000
to issue a warning about amalgam filling materials causing birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Although the warning is considerably watered down, and does not actually mention the mystery substance, this is a small, but significant step. (See http://www.drarima.com/news_article.php4?id=50 for complete text).
As pointed out by Boyd Haley, PhD., witness to the government on the toxic effects of mercury, “What is needed is research by non-biased scientists to clarify this, something our FDA and NIDCR have refused to do. As the American public finds out what has happened regarding this issue, they will be quite angry. This is a biomedical science issue that should have been resolved a long time ago by the responsible federal agencies.’ Therefore contact your legislators and push for action on this crucial topic. We need the use of mercury in fillings, drugs and vaccines to be completely banned.
Legal Action: Putting pressure on individuals, industry manufacturers and relevant organizations through legal action is another way to promote change. What would happen if everyone with a silver amalgam filling filed suit or joined a class action suit? Some suits are already underway. For one example, you can read the full text of the
class action suit brought by Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome (DAMS) Inc., Kids against Mercury and the American Academy of Biological Dentistry at toxicteeth.net/classcomplaint.html.
MSDSs [Material Safety Data Sheets] on dental amalgam products now clearly depict adverse effects from exposure to mercury, including chronic exposure. ”Dentists are responsible for the information found in MSDSs; they must make the information available to patients and staff members. There is no defense for not doing so.”, according to BioProbe, Inc, .an organization dedicated providing “the most current and accurate information available on the potential health effects of ''silver'' dental fillings. See http://www.bioprobe.com.
You always have the legal right to control what goes into your body, not just how much fish you consume, but also dental materials, drugs or vaccines. Since the mercury issue is still a political football and the powers that be are still equivocating, the situation requires that consumers keep their own boundaries. And when all else fails, chelating agents combined with drainage remedies have been clinically proven to be effective in removing heavy metals from the body.
Copyright 2004 by Pamela Levin, R.N. All rights reserved.
Pamela Levin, R.N. is a local health practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition. She wrote “Perfect Bones, A Six Point Plan to Promote Healthy Bones” to detail the process she used for herself and her clients to rebalance the body and regain bone health. Published by Celestial Arts, it is at amazon.com, www.perfectbones.com. She can be reached at (707) 462 2217.