We still use Mercury?
This week’s conversation is the Randall Moore, creator/director/producer of the documentary ‘Evidence of Harm.’
His film is an expose on the potentially toxic effects of mercury used in common dentistry, and the link to potential neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dental Mercury is an issue few people are aware of, and these people fall into three camps. In the first are the people that think that the mercury contained in fillings is inert/benign. That it’s in there, but it doesn’t come out, or doesn’t harm us in any way. The second group are people that don’t even realize that mercury is used in these ‘Silver Fillings.’ (because we all know mercury is bad for us, don’t we…) And the third group is the one that thinks that mercury fillings aren’t used by dentists anymore, for obvious reasons.
To the second two groups, we can sum things up quite simply: Yes, mercury is a main ingredient in Silver fillings. And yes, most dentists out there still use them.
Tough to say. Mercury fillings have been banned in several countries, so the tides are turning. And there are new types of dental fillings that don’t contain mercury. There are options out there.
The film primarily deals with the first group. The dental associations have stuck to their guns, and continue to claim that mercury fillings are safe.
The evidence shows otherwise, although things get tricky. It’s difficult to prove that something is harmful when obvious or drastic symptoms only show up in small amounts of people. Our reductivist minds can’t understand multiple influences.
No Safe Acceptable Levels
The interesting thing is that it’s fairly well established that mercury and other heavy metals are harmful. Even in tiny quantities. People don’t like the ‘common sense’ argument. Maybe it isn’t scientifically justified. On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that mercury exposure is taken pretty seriously in other situations. If a kid breaks a mercury thermometer, for example, they shut down the school. How do we justify the risk of putting it in our mouths, close to our brains? Especially when alternatives are available.
That’s where things get complicated. There is bureaucratic inertia. A slow to change educational system. Lack of consumer awareness. And more.
Things are coming around, but slowly. In this conversation, Randall and I dig into these questions and then some. And be sure to check out his movie, Evidence of Harm.
Where to find out more about Randall Moore:
Books and resources mentioned in this episode:
(Click the links below to learn more…)