Used since the American Civil War, dental amalgams contain an estimated 50% mercury — which studies have found is leading to the toxic contamination of water, air, and soil. Fortunately, in the last 10 years nearly half of dentists have recognized this and have stopped using them in their practice. However, 50 percent of all US dentists still use them. The 50 percent that still use mercury-based fillings account for between 240-300 tons of mercury entering the market every year.
Consumers for Dental Choice report:
Once in the environment, dental mercury converts to its even more toxic form, methylmercury, and becomes a major source of mercury in the fish you eat. The cost of cleaning up this environmental hazard is high. According to studies, amalgam is “more expensive than most, possibly all, other fillings when including environmental costs.”
But the cost of not cleaning up dental mercury from our environment is even higher. The environmental health effects of amalgam are well known, and have recently been reiterated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency: brain damage and neurological problems, especially for children and the unborn babies of pregnant women.
With dental mercury uncontrollably entering the environment from multiple pathways, phasing out amalgam and transitioning to non-mercury alternatives is the only way to reduce – and eventually eliminate – this significant source of mercury that threatens our environment and ultimately our health.