Sue Kedgley, a stirrer from way back, had an article in the paper yesterday Time to swallow hard truth on mercury. She suggests it is time we ask the government to ban mercury amalgam fillings. Whether mercury in fillings is a danger to health is controversial but there is no doubt that mercury is poisonous. Once removed, old fillings are considered toxic waste.
Before I started treatment I saw a retired doctor who offers infusions of high-dose Vitamin C. He was a little too strange for me and he didn't actually offer me an infusion although on the public holiday when I saw him there were several women in the waiting room hooked up to drips, all looking fairly perky and happy. He did give me a lecture on the health risks associated with my mouth full of old fillings. He said that there has been the biggest cover-up ever on the dangers of these fillings - similar to tobacco company claims that smoking doesn't cause cancer - and that the scale of class-action lawsuits that will result when the truth comes out will far exceed anything that the tobacco companies faced. Whether he is right or not, the message I got was that he believed my particular cancer to be a direct result of all those fillings, most done by the school dental nurses in the 1960s.
The only good thing about having to go the dental nurse was that she'd always send me home with a small box of quicksilver, liquid metallic mercury. It gobbed into perfect spheres that wobbled and rolled when poked, and if poked hard enough, broke into lots of smaller balls that shot out in all directions and on meeting up, gobbed back together into bigger and bigger balls until there was just one again. I played with it endlessly - poking and prodding, probably never washing hands afterwards and most likely losing bits in my bed or on the carpet. Does anyone else remember playing with quicksilver? According to wikipedia, quicksilver is not easily absorbed by the skin nor by ingestion. So maybe it wasn't all that criminal to send kids away with a box of mercury to play with.
As for the fillings themselves, too late to worry about them.
Still, I agree with Sue Kedgley, it is time NZ took a stand and banned amalgam fillings. Of course they'll say it will force costs of dental care to soar ever higher, but we have to shift expenditure from health treatment to health promotion and disease prevention.