Poison fillings making us sick
16.05.2009 by Kristin Edge, The Northern Advocate
Studies of hundreds of patients show mercury
amalgam fillings in people's teeth could be responsible for
many unexplained illnesses, a Northland doctor says.
Damian Wojcik, a general practitioner at the Northland
Environmental Health Clinic in Kamo, has been studying possible
mercury poisonings after he started having health problems
in 1992, including memory loss and fatigue.
He spoke this week in support of a 1400-signature petition
calling on the Government to ban mercury amalgam dental fillings
for children and pregnant women and phase them out entirely
by the end of 2013.
He told the Parliament's health select committee
that after his own ill health he had started to suspect some
of his patients could be suffering from mercury poisoning.
His suspicions had been backed up by research and literature
published by respected organisations, such as the World Health
Organisation and Health Canada. He had started testing his
Northland patients specifically for mercury and had collected
information on up to 700
He had published research in 2006 on data collected from
456 patients who had been clinically tested for mercury poisoning.
Patients had shown signs of memory loss, fatigue, depression
and having poor immune systems.
Mostly the source of mercury had been identified as coming
from fillings, he said.
"I'm hoping the material I have presented to the committee
will at least make them consider the issue and they won't
just rubber-stamp the status quo," Mr Wojcik said.
Mercury amalgam had always been considered inert and stable
but when it was left in distilled water it gave off mercury,
he said. Radioactive tracing had shown the mercury turned
up in the thyroid gland four minutes after ingesting and
it was in the rest of the body's organs within 30 days.
Drinking a hot cup of tea could raise base-line mercury
levels up to 400-fold and 80 per cent of that was breathed
in, he said.
But dentists and Health Ministry officials are standing
by the use of mercury amalgam.
Director-general of Health Stephen McKernan said last week
the ministry was confident scientific evidence continued
to support the use of amalgam as a safe, effective and affordable
means to treat tooth decay.
David Crum of the Dental Association
said amalgam's benefits outweighed the "very low level of risk" associated
But another doctor, Paul Butler, told the committee people
with health problems that could possibly be attributed to
mercury would see a GP rather than a dentist.
Dentists were not aware of the problem and GPs were not
looking for any problems with mercury amalgam, he said.
Juliet Pratt, of Auckland, also spoke against the use of
mercury amalgam fillings.
She had 40 amalgam fillings, as
well as three gold fillings and a metal plate. They had
started reacting and "the current
was pretty high", she said.
She had suffered chronic fatigue syndrome and it wasn't
until she had her mercury amalgam fillings removed that she
got her health back.
It was she who presented the petition to the Government
calling on it to immediately prohibit the use of mercury
amalgam dental fillings for children and pregnant women and
phase it out entirely by the end of 2013.