Mercury is used because it is cheap and mixes easily with other metals, commonly referred to as amalgam. Amalgam is the product of roughly 50% mercury and 50% silver, zinc, cadmium, and other metals. Mercury is highly hazaradous to humans and it is consistently used in scientific research to induce apoptosis (cell death) in laboratory animals. All of the products that once contained mercury, such as thermometers and lightbulbs, are now illegal to manufacture and sell in the United States. This ban on mercury containing products was the effect of the obvious health hazards of the element.
Yet despite the obvious negative health effects of mercury, The American Dental Association (ADA) currently considers it to be 'a safe, affordable, and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans'. However, their claim is unwarranted and is at the center of controversy in the scientific community. Proponents of amalgam claim that there is no evidence that amalgam 'leeks' enough mercury to cause harm in humans. They claim that, as an alloy, mercury is perfectly safe and its toxic qualities become inert when the amalgam is formed. But this is misleading. It has been proven that amalgam fillings release small quantities of mercury vapor when used. For example, chewing, brushing teeth, and drinking hot liquids cause amalgam to release mercury vapor. If you have amalgam fillings, then you are breathing in toxic vapor everyday! Shockingly, the ADA does not acknowledge these effects as harmful and consequently, even a child could receive a 'silver' amalgam filling from their dentist.
In 2009, The Federal Drug Administration classified dental amalgam as a class 2 substance (moderate risk), up from a class 1 substance (low risk). In addition, other countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Denmark have gone further by banning the use of mercury in dental amalgam. In 1991, The World Health Organization claimed that 'the mercury in dental amalgam fillings is the greatest source of mercury exposure in the general population'. In 2011, the United States Department of State (DOS) took action to 'phase out' mercury fillings in the next 20 years. But these actions are not enough. A significant number of people will have amalgam put in their mouths as a dental filling within the next 20 years.
Since the ADA firmly defends its position that mercury containing dental amalgam is considered safe, the public must pressure the ADA to discontinue its claims of safety. Please sign this petition.