Mum sinks her teeth into fillings controversy
CATH BENNETT - Sunday News | Sunday, 25 January
A ONCE-sporty mum-of-two says the amalgam fillings in her teeth
left her chronically fatigued and overweight.
So Juliet Pratt is putting the bite on the Beehive
to ban the mercury-based fillings, blamed for a raft of conditions
from mental disorders to birth defects to multiple sclerosis.
"The majority of dentists in New Zealand
still use amalgam and yet it's toxic," Juliet told Sunday News.
"When they remove those fillings the levels
of mercury make them toxic waste."
The Auckland financial adviser wants the government
to immediately prohibit the use of mercury amalgam for children
and pregnant women and phase it out entirely by the end of 2013.
She has gathered 1300 signatures on her petition,
which she will present to Green MP Sue Kedgley in Wellington next
Amalgam has been used for dental fillings for
more than 150 years and has been popular due to its low cost, ease
of application and durability. But in recent years fears have heightened
over the detrimental health effects of the mercury content.
Juliet was an active sportswoman with a promising
career who was raising two young sons alone when she became ill
in her early thirties.
She says after almost a decade of debilitating
chronic fatigue, during which her weight ballooned 20kg, she discovered
the cause was her fillings.
The human body can only tolerate eight mercury
amalgam surfaces, she says. She had over 40.
Juliet had them removed and replaced with non-amalgam
fillings, and her health improved so dramatically she challenged
a team including former marathon champ Allison Roe and Green MP
Metiria Turei to race her in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge to raise
awareness of the issue.
While the other team members each did a 40km leg,
Juliet completed the full 160km course beating them by five minutes.
Juliet is determined to see amalgam fillings banned,
despite dental bodies wanting comprehensive evidence of their potential
"I must have spent thousands and thousands
of dollars on my health ... because they overloaded my mouth with
amalgam fillings as a child," she said.
Dr Robin Whyman, the Ministry of Health's chief
dental officer, said: "We continually monitor the latest research
and literature on amalgam and other dental filling materials, and
based on the evidence to date we have no reason to change our policy.
"Our focus is very much on preventing dental
decay. However, when fillings are required an informed consent process
is standard practice."
For more information, or to join Juliet's crusade,
email her on firstname.lastname@example.org