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Dental Amalgam Doesn't Pose Health Risks In Children

in the test scores of individual children who received amalgam fillings.

DeRouen noted that children who received amalgam fillings had slightly elevated levels of mercury in their urine, measuring on average 1.5 micrograms per liter of urine for the first two years and leveling off to 1.0 micrograms per liter or less thereafter. However, these numbers fall within the so-called "background" level (0-4 micrograms per liter) that is typical for an average person not exposed to industrial or other known sources of mercury. A microgram equals one millionth of a gram.

The scientists noted that children in both groups were in great need of dental care. Among those in the amalgam group, children had on average 10.1 tooth surfaces treated upon entry into the study. By year seven of the study, they had received on average a total of 18.7 surface restorations. Each tooth has either four or five defined surface areas, totaling 128 surfaces in our 32 permanent teeth.

In the New England study, which enrolled children ages six through 10, the scientists also found after five years no significant differences in the well being of the 267 participants who randomly received amalgam and their 267 counterparts who received composite fillings. "We took great pains to design our study in a way that our tests would be sensitive enough to detect as little as a three-point drop in IQ," said Dr. Sonja McKinlay, the principal investigator of the American study and a scientist at New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Mass. "What we found over the course of the study is the amalgam fillings had no adverse effects on the IQ of these children as well as on a range of other neuropsychological measures and kidney function."

The New England scientists also found that children with amalgam fillings had very slightly increased mercury in their urine. On average, these children had mercury levels of 1.0 micrograms per liter of urine compared t
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