Mercury Amalgam
Fillings & Kidney Damage

By Ian Goddard

The recent study indicating a link between amalgam fillings and kidney toxicity [1] is corroborated by previous research. Another recently published study found that "Dentists had, on average, urinary mercury concentrations over four times that of control subjects... [and] were significantly more likely than control subjects to have had disorders of the kidney and memory disturbance." [2] Could there be a pattern?
In 1991, University of Calgary researchers placed amalgam fillings in sheep and then found evidence of kidney damage. Their study, published in the American Journal of Physiology, was entitled: "Mercury from dental 'silver' tooth fillings impairs sheep kidney function." [3] Looks like a pattern.
In response to that study, researchers from a university dental department published a study entitled: "No evidence of renal toxicity from amalgam fillings." [4] I consistently observe that research suggesting amalgam toxicity is usually countered by follow-up research from some dental department. This follow-up study examined only 10 subjects without any controls. Kidney function was examined only within a very narrow time frame, before and then two months after amalgam removal. No difference in kidney function was found over that time. But mercury can take many months to be cleared from the body and the kidney measures could have remained constant over that time due to persistent kidney impairment. Why did they choose such a narrow range of observation in so few patients? Why didn't they measure kidney function 6, 12, and 24 months after amalgam removal to get a better picture? Why didn't they compare their small group of subjects to controls?
In contrast to that very small and narrowly selective study, the resent study published in the Journal of Nephrology looked at 101 subjects, including controls -- a ten-times-larger study that compared those with amalgams to those without amalgams. [1] This new human study corroborates the forgotten sheep study from 1991. I'm sure it's just a matter of time until a follow-up study from some dental department comes along to assure us that there is no evidence that mercury amalgams pose a danger to kidneys.
[1] Mortada WL, et al. (2002). Mercury in dental restoration: is there a risk of nephrotoxicity? Journal of Nephrology, Mar-Apr;15(2):171-6. LINK
[2] Ritchie KA, et al. (2002). Health and neuropsychological functioning of dentists exposed to mercury. Occup Environ Med. May;59(5):287-93. LINK
[3] Boyd ND, et al. (1991). Mercury from dental "silver" tooth fillings impairs sheep kidney function. Am J Physiol. Oct;261(4 Pt 2):R1010-4. Truncated Abstract: LINK
[4] Sandborgh-Englund G, et al. (1996). No evidence of renal toxicity from amalgam fillings. Am J Physiol. Oct;271(4 Pt 2):R941-5. LINK
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