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Dental Amalgam Doesn't Pose Health Risks In Children

In a first-ever clinical trial conducted to evaluate the safety of using the amalgam fillings that contain mercury, it has been found that it doesn't pose any health risk in children // , bringing much respite not only for parents but also to dentists as well, according to foodconsumer.org. The studies were conducted independently, one in Europe and other in the US, and have come to the same conclusion about the health risks of dental amalgam in children.

Both the findings said that children whose cavities were filled with dental amalgam had no adverse health effects. The findings included no detectable loss of intelligence, memory, coordination, concentration, nerve conduction, or kidney function during the 5-7 years the children were followed. The researchers looked for measurable signs of damage to the brain and kidneys because previous studies with adults indicated these organs might be especially sensitive to mercury.

The authors noted that children in both studies who received amalgam, informally known as "silver fillings," had slightly elevated levels of mercury in their urine. But after several years of analysis, they determined the mercury levels remained low and did not correlate with any symptoms of mercury poisoning.

"What's particularly impressive is the strength of the evidence," said NIDCR director Dr. Lawrence Tabak. "The studies evaluated mercury exposure in two large, geographically distinct groups of children and reached similar conclusions about the safety of amalgam."

Dentists have used silver-colored amalgam to fill cavities for more than 150 years. The material is made from an alloy powder of silver, copper, zinc, and other metals held together like glue by mercury. The mercury comprises about half the total weight of a filling.

The discovery raised concerns about the possible toxicity of chronic low-level exposure to mercury from dental amalgam. The toxicity of mercury at higher le
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