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April 19, 2006

Mercury in Dental Amalgam—A Neurotoxic Risk?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pa.

JAMA. 2006;295(15):1835-1836. doi:10.1001/jama.295.15.1835

Dental amalgam, which contains 50% mercury by weight, has been used for at least 150 years. Because mercury is an acknowledged neurotoxin, concerns about the health effects of exposure to this chemical are widespread. Consequently, many individuals have submitted to removal of amalgam dental fillings, an uncomfortable, expensive procedure that is not free of hazard. In this issue of JAMA, Bellinger and colleagues1 and DeRouen and colleagues2 report the first 2 randomized controlled trials comparing the health effects in children treated with mercury amalgam fillings with those treated with a composite dental restorative material.