Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Taking a Bite out of Amalgam Concerns? Study Shows No Renal Effects in Children

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Taking a Bite out of Amalgam Concerns? Study Shows No Renal Effects in Children

Article excerpt

Dental amalgam is a major source of human exposure to inorganic mercury, which is thought to occur primarily when elemental mercury from the amalgam surface evaporates and is inhaled. Prior studies provide strong evidence that the central nervous system and the kidney are the primary targets of inorganic mercury. Data from the New England Children's Amalgam Trial (NECAT), a clinical trial designed to study the possible health effects in children of mercury-containing dental amalgam, now indicate that amalgam fillings' effects on renal function may be quite small [EHP 116:394-399; Barregard et al.].

The study, launched in 1996 in Maine and Massachusetts, is one of two parallel randomized trials funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. These trials provide the first rigorously designed clinical data on the effects of children's dental exposure to mercury, a known neuro- and nephrotoxicant.

A group of 537 children aged 6-10 years at the start of the trial were followed for five years. Children began the trial with no pre-existing fillings and at least one cavity in a back tooth. The children were randomly assigned to two groups, one receiving only amalgam fillings in cavities in the back teeth and the other receiving only composite fillings in the back teeth. …

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