Dental Mercury Toxicity

Warning Dental Mercury Toxicity

Warning Label on the back of a container of mercury based filling material sold under the name Tytin by Kerr Dental. This was the label on a ten plus year old package of the filling material.

Image of mercury amalgam container warning label-Courtesy Craig Sommer DDS

Concerns about the material are not new. Look below for the current health warning information contained in the current Material Safety Data Sheet as of April 2009.

Warning Label for “silver” fillings sold under the name Tytin.

      • Ingestion: May cause Neurotoxic (It can damage nerves in your body.) effects


      • Nephrotoxic (It can damage the kidneys in your body.)effects


      • Inhalation: May cause Bronchiolitis (in bronchiolitis your airway becomes obstructed from the swelling of the bronchiole walls making it difficult or impossible to breathe.)


      • Pneumonitis (pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs due to breathing in a foreign substance)


      • Pulmonary Edema (pulmonary edema is an abnormal build up of fluid in the lungs, which leads to swelling)


      • Eyes & Skin: May cause redness and irritation to eyes and skin


      • Acute Exposure: May cause sensitization and possible visual disturbances


      • PERSONAL PROTECTION-GLASSES, Protective Clothing, GLOVES, Ventilation Hood


      • California Prop 65 Warning: This product contains mercury, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm


      • Keep Out of Reach of Children


You need to make your own decisions. You must decide whether it is worth the risk or not.


Kerr’s technical advice, whether verbal or in writing, is designed to assist dentists in using Kerr’s product. Such advice does not expand Kerr’s limited warranty or relieve the dentist of testing Kerr’s products to determine their suitability for the intended uses and procedures.

The dentist assumes all risk and liability for damages arising out of the improper use of Kerr’s product.


As of April 2009 here are some of the warnings contained in the Health Hazard Data section of the Material Safety Data Sheet for this product:

      • Acute Exposure:Inhalation of mercury vapor can cause cough, fever, nausea and vomiting.
        May cause nausea, vomiting, kidney damage and nerve effects.  May cause redness and irritation.
        Chronic Exposure: Possible sensitization, dermatitis and swelling.
        Mercury may be absorbed through the skin causing urinary problems.


      • Chronic Exposure:Inhalation of high concentrations of mercury vapor over a long period may cause mercurialism.Symptoms include central nervous system (CNS) disorders [Brain and spinal cord]
        Findings are extremely variable and include tremors, salivation, stomatitis, loosening of teeth, blue lines on gums, pain and numbness in extremities.  Mercury may be deposited in the lens of the eye, causing visual disturbances.


      • Effects and Hazards of Skin Contact: Irritant/Sensitizer/Neurotoxin/ Nephrotoxin.


      • Effects and Hazards of Ingestion:Neurotoxic/Nephrotoxic [Affects nerves and kidneys]


      • Effects and Hazards of Eye Contact: Irritant. Acute Exposure:
        Contact may cause irritation.  Mercury is corrosive and may cause corneal injury or burns.



The FDA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set aside a date to conduct an advisory panel December 14-15, 2010. The purpose of the advisory panel will be to discuss scientific issues that will affect the regulation of dental amalgam. The panel meeting attendees will will be directing their attention to the potential risks to groups deemed to be vulnerable. Those falling into the vulnerable classification are pregnant women, fetuses and younger children.

The specific concerns raised for review are the risk assessment methods used to evaluate and classify dental amalgam. Specific concerns were several:

The bioaccumulative effect of mercury (it collects in your body increasing potential for damage)
The pediatric population exposure to mercury vapor (children are much more sensitive to any toxin)
The adequacy of the clinical studies on dental amalgam

The National Academy of Sciences recent report entitled “Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment, NAP 2009, suggests new methods for conducting risk assessments.

Changes to the current classification of mercury containing dental amalgam will be forthcoming after the December meetings.
FDA NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS For Immediate Release: June 10, 2010Media Inquiries: Dick Thompson, 301-796-7566, dick.thompson@fda.hhs.govConsumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDAFDA Advisory Panel to Review Dental AmalgamAgency to consider risks to vulnerable populations