Bid to ban amal­gam fill­ings

Central Leader - - News - By Karen Kotze

Juliet Pratt is wag­ing a war on amal­gam fill­ings.

The sin­gle mum jug­gles sons, busi­ness and an ac­tive sports life.

But she went through a pe­riod where she was slowed by mi­graines, swollen glands and glan­du­lar fever.

She also de­vel­oped mul­ti­ple chem­i­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ties, short-term me­mory loss, numb­ness, an ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat, and a chronic cold that never cleared.

Mrs Pratt was even­tu­ally also di­ag­nosed with chronic fa­tigue syn­drome.

“I couldn’t walk for more than 10 min­utes at a time, and no amount of sleep re­lieved the tired­ness,” she says. “It was ut­terly de­bil­i­tat­ing.” A so­lu­tion took years and Mrs Pratt be­lieves many of her prob­lems were caused by amal­gam fill­ings.

The fill­ings con­tain mer­cury, which is toxic, and Mrs Pratt says it can be ab­sorbed into the blood­stream.

She says more than half of Amer­i­can den­tists are mer­curyfree and Swe­den banned amal­gam fill­ings in 1993.

“The Swedish gov­ern­ment pays 70 per­cent of the costs of re­mov­ing the fill­ings. Also, in 1993 Ger­many’s largest man­u­fac­turer of amal­gam stopped mak­ing it.

“The ar­gu­ment that it is fine be­cause it has been used for 150 years makes no sci­en­tific sense.

“We have aban­doned other rem­nants of pre-Amer­i­can Civil War medicine and all other uses of mer­cury, but not den­tistry?”

Mrs Pratt says peo­ple should re­search links be­tween mer­cury and alzheimers dis­ease, arthri­tis, asthma, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, de­pres­sion, autism, mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, liver disor­ders and parkin­sons dis­ease.

“Sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of alzheimers pa­tients have shown ab­nor­mally high lev­els of mer­cury in ar­eas con­cerned with me­mory.

“The eco­nomic im­pact th­ese dis­eases will have on New Zealand will be dra­matic in years to come.”

The New Zealand Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion dis­agrees.

“On the ba­sis of the ex­ten­sive world­wide sci­en­tific ev­i­dence avail­able, the as­so­ci­a­tion be­lieves amal­gam is a safe and ef­fec­tive fill­ing ma­te­rial,” ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor David Crum says.

“Why would it be in a den­tist’s in­ter­ests to use a ma­te­rial that did not pro­duce good re­sults for their pa­tients?” he says.

“The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Fed­er­a­tion of Den­tistry In­ter­na­tional and many world-renowned den­tal re­search in­sti­tutes, in­clud­ing the den­tal fac­ulty at Otago Univer­sity, con­tinue to sup­port the use of den­tal amal­gam.”

Mr Crum says the Swedish Re­search Coun­cil re­cently con­cluded there is no sci­en­tific proof that the re­moval of amal­gam fill­ings will lead to an im­prove­ment in the gen­eral level of health.

“There are prob­a­bly vary­ing rea­sons why den­tists sup­port the mer­cury-free claims,” he says.

“I think some den­tists in­volved, in a mis­guided way, gen­uinely be­lieve what they are do­ing is cor­rect. There are some who make a lot of money out of pro­vid­ing amal­gam re­place­ment.”

“There are few things more cruel than the pro­mo­tion of un­proven mir­a­cle cures to those of our com­mu­nity who are se­ri­ously af­fected by alzheimers, mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis and the myr­iad other con­di­tions some claim they can cure.

“I am proud to be a mem­ber of a science-based pro­fes­sion that takes an eth­i­cal and proac­tive stand against such cru­elty.”

The New Zealand Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion web­site, www.nzda.org. nz, ex­plains amal­gam safety.

Mrs Pratt is set­ting up a reg­is­ter of peo­ple who have been af­fected by mer­cury amal­gam.

“My aim is to ban the fill­ings in New Zealand,” she says.

For in­for­ma­tion email her at juliet.pratt@xtra.co.nz, call 3599911 or 0275-309-319, go to www. mer­curyfreenow.com.

Photo: KAREN KOTZE

Amal­gam night­mare: Juliet Pratt shares her story of re­cov­ery.

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