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Somehow lately, at every turn I find myself seeing references to medical and dental studies that claim to not only exonerate mercury as a toxic substance, but even go so far as to make it seem as though the stuff might even be someone’s guardian angel (see http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/114/3/584).

There are some scientifically uncontroversial facts about mercury (but if you accept them, you’re considered a mercury fanatic): 1) it’s extremely toxic stuff, whether in its elemental, organic or inorganic forms, 2) amalgam releases mercury vapor into the mouth, typically from its occlusal surfaces whilst eating or brushing teeth, and also in response to heat and galvanic current from the presence of dissimilar metals in other dental restorations, 3) mercury is lipophilic and concentrates in tissues in the body, especially fatty tissues such as the brain, the kidneys, endocrine glands and liver, and 4) mercury crosses the placenta and lodges in fetal tissue (some studies show in higher proportion than in maternal tissue, which seems to make it more toxic to fetuses and children).

The real point of controversy is whether the amount of mercury released by amalgams, or whether the amount of mercury contained in flu vaccines is enough to do any damage (even when combined with the enormous air pollution of mercury coming to the US from China now, as well as the exposures to aluminum and lead, which are myriad, and act to potentiate the effects of mercury).

And there are lots of good studies that give us reason to question whether mercury even in its common uses is truly safe. Have a look at Thomas Burbacher’s 2005 study using infant macaques, where he finds a lot of inorganic mercury deposits in brain tissues that have half-lives from 227-540 days as well as increases in microglia and brain inflammation that resemble that of autistic persons and Alzheimer’s patients. And all this fun from a little bit of mercury in vaccines. (see http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/7712/7712.html)

No one has been able to show conclusively that this chronic mercury exposure is safe. Sure, perhaps over time frames of 5-7 years, maybe we only see loss of three IQ points (which is still not negligible) – but what happens when someone’s seven amalgams leak mercury into their brain for 20 years? Or 50 years? Here’s the totally honest answer that no one else wants to tell you: we don’t know (but we’re concerned). As Hume pointed out long ago, there is no way that one can SEE causality – and it seems that as time marches on, potential causal relationships seem increasingly more outrageous, until we eventually find ourselves in a position where people who find mercury at all suspect are the objects of ridicule by all under the state-sanctioned Scientism that teaches us that everything that is printed in a peer-reviewed medical journal is true.

My question is: knowing what we do about mercury toxicity, in matters of public health, why would we expose people to it at all unless we were using it carefully under stringent cost-benefit analysis to further truly vital objectives, or because it was unavoidable? I can’t imagine what the answer to this is.

Of course, in the meanwhile, I wouldn’t take out my couple of amalgams, not because I am not an alarmist, but mostly because I’m waiting for the new extra-strength, super-safe plutonium fillings to come into use here in the UK.

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