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Most comprehensive study of mercury in dental fillings begins
Date:9/13/2007

n the womb.

Comprehensive studies like these are impossible without cross-departmental collaboration. Dr. Watsons work will add another important layer to understanding the impact of prenatal exposure to mercury that he and the Eastman Dental Center are uniquely able to provide, said Cyril Meyerowitz, B.D.S, M.S., chair of the Eastman Department of Dentistry. This study expands on knowledge gathered in the Seychelles on the neurological effects of methyl mercury by a group of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, including Philip W. Davidson, Ph.D., a senior investigator and professor of Pediatrics. The team has not found any ill effects of low level mercury exposure. Davidson said this new study is integral to further understanding the potential impact of all environmental exposures of methyl mercury.

Its the only study ever conceived where well be able to look at exposure in the main ways people are exposed to mercury fish and seafood, and dental amalgams Davidson said. No one has ever done this before.

History

Mercury has been known to have detrimental effects on the nervous system for centuries; however, it wasnt until an environmental disaster in Minamata, Japan, that the world began to take notice of prenatal methyl mercury poisoning. In the mid-1950s, heavy mercury pollution in Minamata Bay contaminated seafood the community ate as a major source of food. Thousands of people were poisoned to varying degrees, and many children born of mothers who were exposed to methyl mercury were also affected even if their mothers didnt show any obvious signs of poisoning themselves. The childrens symptoms ranged from speech delay to mental retardation.

During a series of poor harvests in Iraq in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Iraqi government bought cheap seed treated with a mercury-based fungicide to give to their people for farming. However, much of the seed arrived too late to be planted, so ag
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Contact: Heather Hare
heather_hare@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-2840
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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