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09 How Can I Tell If I Am Mercury Poisoned?




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This article is from the Amalgam and Mercury-free Dentistry FAQ.

09 How Can I Tell If I Am Mercury Poisoned?

At the present time there is no single test you can take that will
diagnose mercury poisoning. In fact, where there has been no acute
exposure, the medical profession relies heavily on symptomatology as
the basic criteria for further investigation into the possibility of
mercury poisoning. There have been over 220 symptoms identified that
can occur as a result of mercury exposure. Of course, most of these
have come from industrial exposures either in the work-place, mining
mercury, accidental spills, or chronic exposure. The effect of chronic
exposure to mercury vapor, such as that related to the release of
mercury vapor from amalgam dental fillings, are both neurological and
psychiatric. Common symptoms include depression, irritability,
exaggerated response to stimulation (erethism), excessive shyness,
insomnia, emotional instability, forgetfulness, confusion, and
vasomotor disturbances such as excessive perspiration and uncontrolled
blushing. Tremors are also common in individuals exposed to mercury
vapor.

As you can see, mercury poisoning mimics many health conditions,
syndromes, and diseases and sorting it all can be difficult. Most
physicians believe that blood and urine mercury levels can clearly
diagnose mercury poisoning. Unfortunately, this position is not
supported by published scientific data. In fact, even the ADA and the
National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) admitted in 1984 that
blood and urine mercury levels were not diagnostic of ''chronic
mercury poisoning.'' There is evidence that ''hair analysis'' can
provide some indication of excessive mercury and although hair
primarily reflects methylmercury, such as that obtained from fish, it
is still of importance in determining total mercury
exposure. Intra-oral mercury vapor readings, are not diagnostic in
themselves, however, they also provide critical information concerning
the amount of mercury vapor exposure you are receiving from your
mercury dental fillings.

The one test that provides more definitive information about mercury
body burden is called the ''urine mercury challenge test.'' The
patient collects urine for 24 hours and a sample of this is then
analyzed for mercury content. This serves as a base line. The patient
is then challenged with either DMSA or DMPS, both are mercury
chelators that bind mercury and increase its excretion. Urine is then
collected under a specific schedule and again a sample is analyzed for
mercury content. It is not unusual to see increases of 15-150 fold in
urine mercury content. Again, this is not diagnostic in itself of
mercury poisoning but it will sure give you a pretty good indication
of what your body burden of mercury is.

Symptomatology together with some of the above tests together with the
number of mercury fillings present should provide any knowledgeable
physician with enough information to make a valid diagnosis. One of
the classic tenants of the science of toxicology is that once a toxin
has been identified, the first step in treatment is to eliminate the
source of exposure to that toxin.


 

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