January 27, 2010
Older Dental Fillings Contain Form Of Mercury Unlikely To Be Toxic
A new study on the surface chemistry of silver-colored, mercury-based dental fillings suggests that the surface forms of mercury may be less toxic than previously thought. It appears online in ACS' journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.
In the study, Graham George and colleagues note that mercury-based fillings, also called amalgams, have been used by dentists to repair teeth for well-over a century. In recent decades their use has become controversial because of concerns about exposure to potentially toxic mercury. However, mercury can potentially exist in several different chemical forms, each with a different toxicity. Prior to this report, little was known about how the chemical forms of mercury in dental amalgam might change over time.
Image Caption: Older mercury-based dental fillings contain a form of mercury that scientists say is unlikely to be toxic. Credit: American Dental Association
On the Net:
- American Chemical Society
- Article: The Chemical Forms of Mercury in Aged and Fresh Dental Amalgam Surfaces