Ban on amalgam fillings sought
By NATHAN BEAUMONT - The Dominion Post
Juliet Pratt blames the 40 amalgam fillings she had in her teeth
for leaving her chronically fatigued and overweight.
Now the Auckland financial adviser is on a mission to ensure others
will never have to suffer like she did.
She has taken her fight to Parliament, petitioning for the Government
to ban the use of mercury amalgam for children and pregnant women
immediately, and phase it out entirely by 2013.
Ms Pratt says the chronic fatigue syndrome
she suffered for nine years, in which time she put on 20 kilograms,
was caused by mercury leaking from her amalgam fillings. It was
not till they were removed that she got her health back.
"I was like a lump of concrete. If I got
a virus I was in bed for weeks, it was awful. No one could tell
me what was wrong. The doctors and specialists gave up on me,
telling me to go to bed for six months."
It was not till a doctor mentioned concerns
about amalgam fillings that a "light went off in my head".
Ms Pratt's petition, signed by more than 1500 people and submitted
to Green MP Sue Kedgley in February, was considered by Parliament's
health select committee yesterday.
Amalgam fillings are popular due to the low cost, ease of application
and durability. But in recent years fears have grown about the
alleged detrimental health effects of their mercury content.
However, dentists and Health Ministry officials are standing by
"The Ministry of Health strongly disagrees with the petition and
recommends the committee does not support it," director-general
of health Stephen McKernan said. "The ministry is confident that
the scientific evidence continues to support the use of amalgam
as a safe, effective and affordable means to treat tooth decay."
The Dental Association's David Crum said
amalgam's benefits outweighed the "very low level of risk" associated with it. "Patients
can be assured that their amalgam fillings, whether old or new,
have not been shown to constitute a threat to their health."
But Ms Pratt urged health officials and dentists not to ignore
"They have to wake up and take note. I
am not going to go away . . . It is too big a subject to ignore."