Two news items crossed my desk on the same day. One, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), had two studies that said silver mercury amalgam used in some dental fillings is safe.
Next, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) announced that the number of autistic children in California rose from 2,800 in 1987 to 30,181 in 2005. The NVIC alleges that many of these cases of autism are due to the mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines.
So what's behind these conflicting messages?
Let me begin by saying that mercury is one of the most toxic substances on the planet. No amount of it is safe. There's plenty of evidence that even small amounts of mercury appear to cause health problems, from autism to Alzheimer's disease, in some people.
It's a big enough concern that many vaccine manufacturers started to eliminate thimerosal from their vaccines in 2001. Over time, we'll see whether or not the incidents of autism begin to decline as well.
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So what about the studies published in JAMA? Like all bad studies, you just have to read them to find out why you can't trust their conclusions.
In the first study, researchers gave half of more than 500 children from 6-10 years of age mercury amalgam dental fillings. There were no indications of impaired memory, IQ, or any other symptoms attributable to mercury exposure over a five-year period. That's no surprise. It takes longer than five years for amalgam fillings to deteriorate to the point where mercury leaks out into the body and can cause harm.
The second study was no better. It examined the health of school children over seven years. Once again, this wasn't long enough for problems to arise.
If you have any neurological health problems that you can't resolve, and you have old "silver" fillings in your teeth that are more than 10 years old, consider having them replaced with composite fillings. Be sure to go to a dentist who is familiar with safe ways of removing amalgam fillings.
I also recommend you use a good chelating formula to remove heavy metals, such as PectaSol Chelation Complex, ( www.advancedbionutritionals.com/chelation ), for at least three months. By the way, your risk for exposure to mercury is higher if you eat fish and other seafoods more than once a week.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Weise, E., "Mercury fillings safe, studies find," USA Today, April 19, 2006.