16 Mercury


Methyl mercury exposure is toxic for women at all stages of life (Garcia-Hernandez, 2018) and poses a greater risk for those with breast cancer as it mimics estrogen and has the potential to stimulate the growth of hormone-sensitive cancer cells. 

Symptoms of Exposure

Mercury is very toxic as it inhibits selenium-dependent enzymes. Symptoms of mercury exposure include disturbed sensation and a lack of coordination, peripheral neuropathy, itching, and burning skin, and pink cheeks, fingertips, and toes, visual, hearing, and speech impairment, and shedding or peeling skin. A person suffering from mercury poisoning may experience profuse sweating, tachycardia (persistently faster-than-normal heartbeat), increased salivation, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Mercury Sources

Sources of mercury include contaminated seafood, environmental pollution, and silver amalgam fillings. 


Heavy metals bioaccumulate up the food chain in large, longer-living fish like shark, swordfish, yellowfin, albacore tuna, and mackerel. Even smaller fish may now be contaminated due to the rising levels of heavy metals in the ocean. (Karami, 2018).

It is safest to avoid seafood due to ocean pollution.


Vapors from the improper disposal of mercury-containing objects, for example, mercury thermometers, and fluorescent lamps are dangerous sources of mercury vapor.

Be aware of these sources and avoid touching them or breathing their vapors.

Dental Fillings

The World Health Organization has reported that the single largest contributor of mercury exposure to humans is amalgam fillings. Amalgam “silver” fillings are still being used in many dentistry practices to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals with approximately fifty percent mercury and the rest of the materials contain silver, tin, and copper. Amalgam fillings are a source of exposure because they release mercury vapors into our mouths. When we ingest small particles of metals from our fillings, we pass them through our digestive system without much absorption. However, when we inhale the vapors from metals, they are absorbed through our lungs and into our blood where they can act as powerful toxins. Amalgam fillings release vapors at varying rates and increase when they come in contact with hot foods and liquids.

As we have learned about the health risks of an amalgam filling, more of us are considering having our amalgams removed. But the removal of these filling requires drilling, which creates the heat and friction that releases vapors. So, this must be done by properly trained dental professionals known as biodynamic or biological dentists.

Biological dentistry practices have special equipment and procedures that take these risks into consideration. Also, dentists who specialize in amalgam removal take precautions, using a dental dam to protect the permeable lining of the cheeks and powerful ventilation systems to protect you from the inevitable vapors caused by the drilling needed for removal. There are safe removal protocols that have been developed by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).

To reduce the toxicity of the exposure to the metals, biological dentists also frequently use preliminary nutrients as a protective practice to help the body clear the metals. These nutrients may include Vitamin C and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). 

Biological dentists replace amalgams with gold, ceramic, or other alternate filling materials such as composite materials that contain glass. The choice of material should be made carefully in each patient’s situation. Consult a biological dentist if you are concerned about the risk of exposure to mercury from your dental fillings and want to explore the option of removal.

Mercury Summary Checklist

O Avoid exposure to mercury

O Take detoxifying supplements, when exposed to mercury

O Add detoxifying foods to your daily diet.

O Get tested for heavy metals