*Victims of Mercury Poisoning & Their Stories*
Victims of Mercury Poisoning & Their Stories
By Anna Priest from Grafton, New South Wales Australia
Victims Statements and Letters sent to ADA about ADA web site and other information desiminated by the AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION
Check out the ADA web site & see for yourself why everyone is so upset. Does the phrase “Negligent Misrepresentation to the Detriment of the Public Health” ring any bells? We think it should!
To the American Dental Association:
I have suffered dysfunction and later very ill health most of my life (now 47) symptoms beginning from around age 11, not long after my first amalgams were placed. Tests have shown high Hg levels, and I had many of the classical CNS and other symptoms of chronic exposure. I am now 80% improved following amalgam removal and partial Hg detoxification. The following is an outline of a letter which was sent to Australian health authorities (who have now recommended no amalgam be placed in children, pregnant women or people with kidney disorders).
SUBMISSION TO THE NATIONAL HEALTH & MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL Health Advisory Committee: DENTAL AMALGAM WORKING PARTY
4 may 1998
PO Box 448 Grafton, NSW, 2460. Professor Stephen Leeder National Health & Medical Research Council GPO Box 9848, Canberra, ACT, 2601.
Dear Professor Leeder,
I write on behalf of numerous Australian citizens whose health has apparently been adversely affected by chronic exposure to dental amalgam mercury.I believe that my health has been adversely affected by mercury from dental amalgam fillings, from childhood, shortly after the age of ten or eleven when they were first placed. The following thirty years were characterised by a gradual deterioration in my physical and mental health to the point where I spent the major part of the day from age 38 to 42 bedridden and unable to function normally (physically, mentally or emotionally). Four years ago at the age of 41 my ten amalgam fillings were removed and replaced with composite resin restorations. The following year, although experiencing some improvement in a few symptoms, was largely spent trying to recover from the (inadequate) removal procedure and to lower my body burden of mercury. The next few years up until the present time has seen a gradual improvement in my health as the level of mercury (and lead) has slowly been reduced. However, in hindsight I now realise that had I been provided with adequate protection against mercury exposure during the removal procedure – as well as appropriate informed medical advice – my recovery would have been far more rapid and complete than it has been. I have come to realise that due to the lack of diagnosis and the many years it took to find out about chronic mercury toxicity, that a great deal of damage has occurred, perhaps some of it irreversible. I also believe that if access to dental and medical practitioners with expertise in diagnosis and treatment of amalgam mercury toxicity had been available, my health would be in a far better state than it is today. I have had virtually no support (or even belief) from the many doctors I consulted since becoming aware of the issue. Neither have any shown the slightest interest in learning about it. Fortunately, a new GP has moved to Grafton who practices complementary medicine, and who has experience in successfully treating CFS and similar conditions. She is also familiar with the amalgam issue, having had her own amalgams removed. Unfortunately, physicians with post graduate training in any form of complementary medicine are extremely rare, especially away from large city centres. However, their interest is greatly appreciated by their patients, many of whom travel great distances to attend practitioners who have experience diagnosing and treating heavy metal toxicity.
The major difficulty for those affected by amalgam mercury is obtaining a diagnosis. Over the worst five year period I visited more than 15 different doctors and specialists in an attempt to get some answers, or at least some relief. I travelled far and wide, and consulted many GP as well as physicians with an interest in holistic medicine and women’s health, a consultant physician, an endocrinologist, a rheumatologist, a psychiatrist, an immunologist, and a well known naturopath. Each diagnosed a part of the overall picture, according to their own area of interest, but none were enlightened to the fact that chronic heavy metal poisoning was behind my bizzare collection of symptoms. Prescriptions for painkillers, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, anti-depressants, steroid and other hormones including oestrogen and progesterone, sedatives and sleeping pills were offered – but no answers and little hope. I think the major characteristic which saved me from suicide was that I’m an irrepressible optimist and creative thinker, and always tried hard to focus on a light at the end of the tunnel. If the light faded, I imagined it.
I believe that the hidden personal, financial, social – and especially the medical – costs of amalgam-related illness is enormous, and the ramifications vast. Although I may be amongst a small percentage of people with an enhanced sensitivity to heavy metals, my case is far from unique. There are many others in the community who are in a similar position (many of whom I have been in contact with over the past 3+ years).I have spent a small fortune over the past twenty years on attempts to diagnose and treat the growing list of symptoms. In addition, because of the worsening state of my health, which was eventually diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome (but was far more than that), I was unable to contribute to the work force for over ten years. The mental and emotional pain resulting from my deteriorating condition was exacerbated by the social isolation I was forced to endure. For many years I was considered a neurotic freak by my husband, friends, family, and the medical profession. As a result of continual hormonal disorders I was infertile and unable to have children, eventually undergoing a hysterectomy at 42. After my marriage broke up three years ago, due to the stresses and strains of our situation, I’ve had to survive on a disability pension. I would like to emphasise that my situation is not uncommon amongst those who have suffered years of undiagnosed mercury toxicity. Many spend their days in various states of distress and disability, drugged by medications to ‘manage’ the symptoms and unable to afford the proper care they need. At age forty one, just prior to having ten amalgams removed and replaced with composite resin, the following symptoms were present (partly taken from a list compiled for a doctor when I was unable to explain my predicament with any clarity). To some readers unfamiliar with environmental illness or chronic low level mercury poisoning, some of the following may seem implausible or overstated. Nevertheless, practically all these symptoms have been listed in medical reference books as possible signs and symptoms of mercury exposure. Headaches: (27 years) mild to severe, to throbbing migraines. Often a continual nagging background headache for days or weeks at a time. Fatigue: (nine+ years) mild to total collapse, often a feeling of continual lethargy, drowsiness (even on awakening after a full night’s sleep). Sometimes felt complete absence of strength in body. Dizziness: (four+ years) often felt light-headed and unsteady. Insomnia: (27 years) Difficulty falling asleep. Sometimes awake until 5 am, or wake in the early hours and be unable to get back to sleep. Some nights no sleep at all. Depression: (27 years) for days or weeks at a time, sometimes constant. Mild background depression to severe, suicidal at times. Concentration: (8-10+ years) very poor, often felt disorientated, brain ‘fog’. Memory: (six+ years) short term memory very poor, often forgetful and had to live by lists. Muscle aches and weakness: (six + years) muscles felt weak, tired and ached, sometimes all over, not from use or exertion. Difficult to do repetitive tasks, however small. Stiff, sore muscles and joints after sitting more than 1/2 an hour. Aching legs and feet: (6+ years) generalised pain over whole legs, often continuous, even after rest. Often ached badly for no apparent reason, even after lying down all night. Arthritic pain: (25 years) in hips, knees and later ankles, worse in cold weather and at night. Often lost sleep because of pain. Weight gain: (8 years) from 8 stone to over 14 stone at one stage. Possibly thyroid related. Fluid Retention: (eight+ years) worse in heat and with PMS. Worst affected were legs with swollen, puffy ankles and knees.
Food cravings: (eight+ years) for yeast and sugar (cheese, bread, biscuits, sweets, chocolate). Worse with PMS (now know to be associated with candidiasis and food allergy/sensitivity). Candidiasis: (chronic intestinal and systemic – probably 20+ years) yeast overgrowth in gut, thrush only occasionally, much worse after antibiotics. Nausea: (6 years) worse each morning, tender stomach (result of candida?), often indigestion. Spleen/pancreas? and liver/gall bladder pain: (three to four years). Allergy/sensitivity: (? years) tested positive for twelve, worst were dairy products, wheat, soy, alcohol, coffee and chocolate; much improved with dietary control. No reactions at all now. Hypoglycaemia: (8? years) often feeling weak, shaky and dizzy. Some improvement with dietary treatment and supplemental chromium. Tachycardia: (three+ years) heart raced, then did flip flops. Was told I had a heart murmur. Agraphobia and panic attacks: (for a few years in my mid twenties). Circulation: (27+ years) very poor, constantly cold hands and feet, and cramps in feet, regardless of warm weather or movement. Pre-menstrual syndrome: (12+ years) persisted for up to 12 days prior to menses, symptoms worsened as I got older, often immobilising and difficult to bear. Became very accident prone. Fibrocystic breast lumps: (10+ years) some pain at times, lumps still present. Low libido: (12 years) or non existent. Infertility: (three plus years) tried unsuccessfully for pregnancy. Tried microsurgery. Pelvic inflammatory disease: (three+ years) commenced two days after exploratory medical procedure for infertility led to acute salpingitis (bacterial infection of fallopian tubes). Treatment by IV and oral antibiotics. Further chronic condition resulted in removal of tubes, and later total hysterectomy. Frequency of urination: (childhood on) sometimes every 1/2 hour during the day, often 3-4 times each night, regardless of liquids taken. Constipation and Diarrhoea: (ten years) alternating between the two. Several bouts of irritable bowel syndrome. Eyes: (12 years) sore, irritated and dry, often mucus; diagnosed chronic allergic conjunctivitis but no reason, also cysts inside lower eyelids. Muscle twitching from age 12. Sinus: (four+ years) continually blocked and stuffy, could rarely breath clearly through nose, much sneezing and mucous. Ears: (twenty years) consistently itchy, several infections, seemed some loss of hearing but tested normal. Frequent buzzing sound and some ringing. Often blocked with wax. Skin: Rash for 3+ years under arms and groin, sometimes hot and stinging, worse in heat. Eventually lost skin from underarms, (tried every treatment available, finally eased after two acupuncture treatments, though later returned). Also tiny cysts on upper arms and thighs. Always bruise very easily. Flushing on upper chest and face. Skin on palms peeled off in patches. Jaw: (4 years) slight stiffness and sometimes ached. Mouth: (4+ years) unpleasant sour taste in mouth, later strong metallic taste. Regular mouth ulcers from childhood. Sometimes bleeding gums. ‘Sensitive’ teeth. Four abscessed teeth (all despite normal oral hygiene). Overproduction of saliva, dribbling at night and waking with a wet pillow. Although now virtually free of mercury and lead (through various methods of chelation), I still suffer some degree of chronic fatigue syndrome, although far from the disabling state prior to amalgam removal and detoxification. The permanent almost-Alzheimer’s-like condition has disappeared, but I believe I’ve been left with some brain damage and at times still have considerable problems with memory, mood and concentration. Low physical energy levels remain a feature of my life, as are chemical sensitivities and sleeping difficulties. Despite these difficulties I now enjoy a reasonable quality of life compared to the years when I was affected by amalgam, and feel that I can be more useful and productive than any time during the previous decade. In fact there are times now (although short lived and rare) when I feel better physically and mentally than I can ever remember at any time. This is in stark contrast to the 6 to 8 years prior to amalgam removal when at worst I was a physical and mental wreck, and at best merely existing.After a year following the amalgam removal, and an extremely difficult time detoxifying, as a result of gaining some degree of function back and wishing for more improvement, I embarked on a mission to learn more about heavy metal toxicity. The more I learnt about amalgam mercury-related damage, the more horrified and angry I became and the more determined I was to regain my function so I could assist others who were also affected. It was two years after amalgam removal that I learnt of the existence of ASOMAT, and another year before I had a DMPS (heavy metal challenge) test and underwent a series of chelation by various methods. I also discovered that my recovery had been hindered by inadequate treatment prior to, during and following the removal procedure – and especially by insufficient mercury protective measures during the removal process. Furthermore, two pieces of amalgam had been carelessly left under the replacement composite fillings, and a metal pin also remained. After these were carefully removed by an ASOMAT dentist my recovery took another leap forward. As a result of gaining some degree of function back after the initial difficult time of detoxification, some of my friends and family have noticed the difference, and several have taken note of the risks to their own health and undergone amalgam removal, including my ex husband who is now very supportive. They have all experienced varying degrees of success, depending on whether they took my advice and consulted an experienced ASOMAT dentist, if they received adequate protective measures during the removal, and also whether they followed up on detoxification methods. * Since beginning to study the amalgam issue in detail over the past three years, I have spoken to hundreds of people who have contacted me by phone, letter, or email, each one affected in their own way by exposure to amalgam mercury. In addition, I have read scores of case studies from people (including those from the US support group newsletter and DAMS book) outlining their own experiences with chronic mercury toxicity from dental amalgams. Over fifty have sent me their own story relating their health decline, their search for help, and eventually their full or partial recovery.
The great majority of these accounts have several themes in common: 1. A lack of belief in the severity and range of their symptoms by the medical profession, generally because their symptomatology failed to fit any specific medical diagnosis. Also because most, if not all, standard diagnostic pathology and other exploratory tests were mostly within “normal” ranges. Most were repeatedly assured there was nothing wrong with them. Many were considered neurotic, hypochondriac, delusional, depressed, “hormonal”, lazy, over-stressed, or to be exaggerating – by their doctors, as well as others. (However, application of the DMPS urine heavy metal challenge/provocation test (1) may have revealed a different picture). There must be many patients who have been labelled as such, or “resistant to therapy,” who would in fact be suffering some degree of mercury poisoning from these permanent implants of mercury in their mouths. 2. A great deal of time, money and energy wasted “doctor shopping,” some having spent many years going from doctors to various specialists and then to natural therapists in an attempt to find the source of their worsening health, or at least some relief. Many have found support and assistance within the alternative health professions, others with the few very rare doctors trained in various forms of holistic or complementary medicine. 3. The most common symptoms which almost all these people had were depression, varying levels of fatigue and/or muscle weakness, poor short term memory, lack of concentration, and a state of “brain fog”. Sleeping disorders are also common. These were underlying themes in almost every case, no matter what the range and severity of other symptoms. In some cases they were almost the only symptoms, although many people had a great deal more. 4. Whether they gained any improvement in health was to a great degree determined by which dental and medical practitioners they consulted, and also by their own commitment to becoming well. I have found recovery from chronic mercury toxicity depends a great deal on what level of dental and medical care the person receives. Some, including myself, have been made initially much worse by inappropriate and inadequate protection from mercury during the amalgam removal and the detoxification process. If this critical protection is not afforded to patients, particularly the more sensitive and immune-compromised, their health can suffer for some time afterwards, perhaps indefinitely. Many of those affected by amalgam mercury feel like outcasts from society, ignored because we do not fit a specific medical pigeonhole. Because of our (generally unseen) mercury-induced disabilities, we experience a vastly reduced quality of life. We cannot make meaningful contributions to society, and many are dependent upon government support to survive. I have spoken to some people who have been on the verge of suicide because of too many years suffering a physically and emotionally painful existence – with no belief, no help – and very little hope for a better future. Suicide is also a very real risk to those who have undergone amalgam removal and/or detoxification without the necessary protective measures (particularly those with enhanced sensitivities to metals). It seems that how much an individual is affected by amalgam mercury depends upon various factors. The most relevant seem to be: genetic inheritance, the ability of the liver, kidneys and GIT to deal with toxins, diet (including the presence or absence of protective antioxidants), physical and emotional stresses, and of course, the integrity of the immune system, which is affected by all the previous factors.In some cases exposure to other toxins such as synthetic chemicals which may compromise immune or CNS function – particularly lead – play a synergistic role. I have found that many individuals who have had past contact with lead seem to be amongst the worst affected, especially the central nervous system. As a child I would help my father melt down lead blocks to make deep sea fishing sinkers. (He died at 52 of a heart attack and with an undiagnosed Parkinson’s-like syndrome. In hindsight, his symptoms were typical of lead poisoning – and he also had amalgams early in life). Some people I have spoken to, who have a collection of the more severe amalgam-related symptoms and disorders, have also been exposed to lead through house painting and renovation, leadlighting, lead glazes in potting, inner city living, or occupational exposure such as plumbing and so on. As you would know, lead and mercury act in synergy to potentiate the toxicity of each other.
In conclusion, I feel that the most important aspect from a patient’s point of view is that steps need to be undertaken to educate health professionals to recognise the signs and symptoms of amalgam induced pathology. In particular, dentists need to be adequately trained in IAOMT (ASOMAT) recommended amalgam removal protocols. Ideally, dentists and doctors need the educational tools to work as an interdisciplinary team to optimise the patient’s recovery from the effects of heavy metal poisoning. This issue has already begun to be addressed by ASOMAT, in conjunction with Dr Ian Brighthope, President of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM). This action is an innovative step forward for health care in Australia. I urge you to consult with ASOMAT and ACNEM for scientific references on this matter in order for you to make a fully informed policy. Thank you for considering my submission. Yours faithfully, Anna Priest. (1) Godfrey M. Campbell N. “Confirmation of Mercury Retention and Toxicity Using 2,3- Dimercapto-1-Propane-Sulphonic Acid Sodium Salt (DMPS).” Journal of Advancement in Medicine. Vol. 7. Spring 1994. * Anna Priest DAMS Australia (Dental Amalgam Mercury Syndrome) PO Box 448, Grafton, Australia, 2460.
This is where I first read about possible mercury toxicity and more stories are here.
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
If you’re still eating fish and other seafood on a regular basis, you may want to reconsider, if you value your health. It’s extremely unfortunate, but the truth is that much of the seafood on the market nowadays is barely fit for human consumption due to high levels of contamination.
Chances are You’re Eating Seafood Farmed in China
According to 2008 Congressional testimony by Don Kraemer, Deputy Director of the Office of Food Safety at the FDA, more than 80 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, and over 40 percent of all seafood is produced in aqua-farms.
China is the largest exporter of seafood to the US. (They’re also the largest US supplier of canned vegetables, fruit juices, honey, and other processed foods.)
Kraemer stated that:
“In the past, FDA has encountered compliance problems with several Chinese food exports, including lead and cadmium in ceramicware used to store and ship food, and staphylococcal contamination of canned mushrooms.
While improvements have been made in these products, the safety of food and other products from China remains a concern for FDA, Congress, and American consumers.”
Since that testimony, a variety of Chinese exports have come under fire for being dangerously contaminated with one poison or another, and in some cases lethally so.
But the trend of seafood contamination in general, and why fish can no longer be recommended as a dietary staple, goes beyond contaminated fish from China and other third world countries.
Fish Everywhere is Coming Up Contaminated
The sad truth is that imported fish is not the only fish that is likely to be bad for your health. For example, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study, mercury contamination was detected in EVERY fish sampled in nearly 300 streams across the United States!
More than a quarter of these fish contained mercury at levels exceeding the EPA criterion for the protection of human health – a level that may still be too high to truly protect your health in the long run.
In addition, a previous study on fish from US lakes and reservoirs found that more than half contained excessive levels of mercury — so much so they were deemed unsafe for children and pregnant women to eat.
But mercury is not the only dangerous contamination to contend with.
The problem with much of the imported seafood is the presence of antibiotics, fungicides, and other chemicals that have been banned in the US. In an ideal world, the FDA would reject any and all contaminated wares, but the FDA inspects less than one percent of our imported seafood.
As reported by EconomyInCrisis.org, Alabama, which has some of the most stringent seafood safety testing, regularly rejects between 50 and 60 percent of imported seafood!
Compounding the problem is the fact that laboratories charged with testing imported foods have little incentive to actually report contamination to the authorities.
That’s right – It’s another case of protecting the client rather than the public.
According to a USA Today report:
When viewed as a whole, this should give you an idea of the potential scale of this problem…
The likelihood that the fish you buy in your local grocery store or restaurant is actually free of dangerous levels of contamination of one kind or another is slim indeed, and this is why I strongly recommend avoiding most fish, other than very small fish (like anchovies and sardines) or wild-caught fish from minimally polluted areas like the Arctic, Antarctic or Alaskan waters.
Farmed Fish May Be Worst of All
Farmed fish, in particular, should be avoided if you treasure your health. (It’s also one of the most unsustainable approaches to farming there is, and has a significant, detrimental impact on the environment.)
All farm-raised fish are fed a concoction of vitamins, antibiotics, and depending on the fish, synthetic pigments, to make up for the lack of natural flesh coloration due to the altered diet. Without it, the flesh of caged salmon, for example, would be an unappetizing, pale gray.
Pesticides are oftentimes also fed to the fish, and toxic copper sulfate is frequently used to keep nets free of algae.
Fish waste and uneaten feed litter the sea floor beneath these farms, generating bacteria that consume oxygen vital to shellfish and other bottom-dwelling sea creatures.
The inevitable result of these modern fish farming practices is an evil circle of disease, antibiotic use, followed by the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains. Disease and parasites, which would normally exist in relatively low levels in fish scattered around the oceans, can run rampant in densely packed fish farms.
Studies have also consistently found levels of PCBs, dioxins, toxaphene and dieldrin, as well as mercury, to be higher in farm-raised fish than wild fish.
What are Your Options?
Sadly, contamination of our oceans and waterways is so great that toxic pollutants are found in ever increasing amounts in wild fish as well, and this is why I don’t advise eating any fish, whether farm-raised or wild-caught, unless you can verify its purity.
What options do you have, then, to get the health benefits of the omega-3 fats in fish, without exposing yourself to pollutants and excessive amounts of antibiotics, and contributing to the decline of the fish population and destruction of the environment?
These days I recommend you get your omega-3 fat from an alternative source like krill oil. Not only are krill (small, shrimp-like creatures) a superior source of omega-3, but they are one of the most easily renewable food resources available, making them an excellent nutritional source from an environmental perspective.
Though I know many of you enjoy fish for the flavour and the health benefits, if you can’t confirm that it’s from a clean, sustainable source, I believe the risks from eating it vastly outweigh the benefits.
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