Fillings Mercury Science

Increased mercury emissions from modern dental amalgam fillings

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Increased mercury emissions from modern dental amalgams.

biometalsPublished in the April 2017 issue of BioMetals is another study indicating that mercury vapor is released from dental amalgam fillings. This time high copper amalgam fillings are examined and were found to release up to 10x times more mercury than previous, non-high copper amalgam fillings. Check out the abstract below:

Bengtsson UG, Hylander LD.


All types of dental amalgam contain mercury, which partly is emitted as mercury vapor. All types of dental amalgams corrode after being placed in the oral cavity. Modern high copper amalgams exhibit two new traits of increased instability. Firstly, when subjected to wear/polishing, droplets rich in mercury are formed on the surface, showing that mercury is not being strongly bonded to the base or alloy metals. Secondly, high copper amalgams emit substantially larger amounts of mercury vapor than the low copper amalgams used before the 1970s. High copper amalgams has been developed with focus on mechanical strength and corrosion resistance, but has been sub-optimized in other aspects, resulting in increased instability and higher emission of mercury vapor. This has not been presented to policy makers and scientists.

Mercury Dental Amalgam Filling
High Copper Mercury Dental Amalgam Filling looks identical to previous amalgam fillings.

Both low and high copper amalgams undergo a transformation process for several years after placement, resulting in a substantial reduction in mercury content, but there exist no limit for maximum allowed emission of mercury from dental amalgams. These modern high copper amalgams are nowadays totally dominating the European, US and other markets, resulting in significant emissions of mercury, not considered when judging their suitability for dental restoration.

 The study even points out that droplets of mercury rise to the surface of the amalgam product when polished.

Droplets of mercury on the surface of modern, high copper non-ɣ2-amalgam
Droplets of mercury on the surface of modern, high copper non-ɣ2-amalgam, photographed with a light microscope (×252 magnifying). Photo: Ulf Bengtsson

Droplets on the surface of non-ɣ2-amalgams

Polishing the surface of many high copper amalgams stimulates the formation of droplets rich in mercury, see Figs. 2 and 3. People can get loans from This formation happens even if the polishing takes place under cold water to avoid any rise in temperature and continues a number of hours after the polishing has stopped.

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