Tag Archives: dental amalgams

When Does Correlation Become Causation?

What’s the difference between correlation and causation? The answer to this question is of the utmost importance to scientific researchers, who must use their understanding of this distinction to make conclusions about experimental data. The dictionary definitions of correlation and causation are fairly straight-forward. Correlation is when two or more things occur at the same time, but there’s no proof that a change in one variable would cause a change in the other variable. Causation is when two things occur at the same time, yet there is proof that a change in one would cause a change in the other. Most scientists testing a hypothesis about the relationship between two variables therefore seek to prove causation.

The distinction between causation and correlation has been particularly relevant to discussions about toxic elements like mercury. Mercury has long been associated with adverse conditions like neurodevelopmental disorders. As our exposure to mercury has increased over the course of the last century, so too have cases of autism, autoimmune disorders, and anxiety and depression. Despite this correlation, additional scientific research was needed to prove that the relationship between mercury exposure and adverse health events was not coincidental.

Recent scientific research demonstrates that causation is in fact at play. Scientists Mark Geier and David Geier have long studied the relationship between mercury and adverse health outcomes. While the mercury-containing compound Thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines, was the primary focus of their earlier research, their recent publication on mercury dental amalgams also clearly demonstrates a causal relationship between mercury and adverse outcomes. According to the study, mercury exposure via dental amalgams increases an individual’s risk for illness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and most alarmingly, suicide. Adverse effects also include muscle discomfort, frequent infections, GI disturbances, impaired memory, and sore throats. Through their own research and extensive reviews of other scientific findings, the Geiers find that the toxicity resulting from mercury amalgam exposure is broad and varied, and can be delayed in certain individuals.

While mercury exposure affects different individuals in different ways, there remains proof of a strong correlation because findings from these studies consistently meet the Bradford Hill criteria for epidemiology, which includes strength, specificity, consistency, temporality, biological gradient, plausibility, coherence, experiment, and analogy. In other words, while a mercury dental amalgam won’t cause every individual aching lymph glands, the relationship between mercury and adverse health events meets enough Bradford-Hill criteria to reflect a causal dynamic.

Unfortunately, others seem to insist that the connection between mercury and the increase in adverse health events is simply corollary, rather than causal. Dental amalgams containing mercury continue to be offered as a treatment option to dental patients in the United States, and given that over 180 million Americans possess these amalgams, this hesitation to recognize a causal relationship ultimately comes at the expense of human health.

 

 

 

The Dangers of Dental Amalgams: Risks of Illness, Anxiety, and More

We don’t often think of a cavity filling as being dangerous. Sure, receiving these fillings can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but we generally don’t have any worries about their potential negative side effects. However, recent research conducted by Dr. Mark Geier reveals that these fillings (amalgams) pose a number of health risks. Specifically, the elemental mercury in these amalgams has been shown to lead to depression, anxiety, and fatigue, all of which are commonly associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, among other chronic illnesses.

For years, science has identified mercury as a toxin harmful to humans. This element’s potential for severely damaging the nervous system has led to its ban from a number of household products and almost all childhood vaccines. At the international Minimata Convention on Mercury in 2013, over 140 nations signed a treaty that aims to limit human exposure to mercury. Yet, mercury continues to comprise 50% of the composition of the dental amalgams issued to patients in the United States.

If you think dental amalgams aren’t prevalent enough to be of concern, consider that over 181 million Americans have at least one dental amalgam in their mouth, and that these amalgams are given to children as young as 26 months of age. Today, 45 percent of all dental restorations rely on amalgams that contain elemental mercury. These fillings aren’t just concentrated sources of mercury, either, as they continually release mercury vapors.

Proof that an individual’s dental amalgams lead to increased mercury concentrations in the body is evident from a number of studies. For example, research has shown that those with dental amalgams containing a 50% composition of elemental mercury also had high concentrations of mercury in their tissues, kidneys, brain, and urinary porphyrins. The mercury in a dental amalgam is therefore not confined to the amalgam itself; its vapors do reach other areas of the body, and over time, form concentrations in these locations.

However, because the release of mercury vapors in dental amalgams occurs gradually, individuals are more likely to experience chronic toxicity. This type of exposure makes identifying the effects of toxicity slightly more challenging to study, but Geier does point to a number of case studies that illustrate the types of chronic illnesses that can develop over prolonged exposure to mercury. A study of dental assistants that had occupational interactions with mercury demonstrated higher rates of neurological symptoms, sleep deprivation, psychosomatic symptoms, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

Low-level exposure to mercury has also been shown to significantly alter an individual’s mood, resulting in a wide range of somewhat extreme behaviors, including outbursts of anger and excessive shyness.  A study that evaluated a group of ex-miners who had prolonged exposure to mercury and a group of controls found that the ex-miners were significantly more likely to be depressive, have low self-esteem, and tend towards introversion. Other studies of dental workers have also demonstrated the negative effects of mercury exposure, even when exposure occurred at levels that were deemed to be safe. These studies revealed that dentists with elevated levels of mercury were more inclined to distress, aggression, confusion, tension and irritation.

A study of suicide victims further revealed that over 60 percent of the victims had more than 12 dental amalgams, and were found to maintain triple the amount of mercury in their bodies than those that had died of other causes.

Geier’s research ultimately reveals an unfortunate reality: the levels of mercury exposure we previously believed to pose no health risks can in fact be harmful, leading to both chronic illness and psychosomatic conditions with dangerous consequences.