Look, Ma! Interesting mercury news—based on science!

As the anti-vaccine mercury militia’s limited credibility shrinks even further, actual scientists are investigating real mercury-based toxins.

Remember how followers of the mercury militia were getting all their old mercury amalgam fillings pulled? It turns out that maybe that’s not the greatest idea.

A group from the U of I found that once you dig out the fillings, under the right conditions, mercury can become exposed to certain bacteria that methylate it, forming toxic methylmercury compounds.

If this pans out, it may change the way mercury fillings are removed and the waste products disposed of.

Look! Science!

University of Illinois at Chicago (2008, March 27). Dental Chair A Possible Source Of Neurotoxic Mercury Waste. ScienceDaily.


  1. Not to be my usual pedantic self, but “more toxic” implies that the amalgam is toxic to begin with, when i was led to understand it was completely benign.


    “rendering it possibly toxic” would be a better turn of phrase, perhaps?

  2. Thanks, as usual.

  3. OTOH, might this be a valid reason not to use amalgam fillings in the first place? I’m not talking about digging out the fillings you have, but the initial drill and fill.

  4. ebohlman

    Shame on you for writing “mercury amalgam.” That would be an alloy of mercury and, well, mercury. Doubt it would stay in place. 🙂

  5. Good point. Unfortunately it’s the usual lay-usage.

  6. Sorry to rain on your parade…but just out of curiousity, if I were alt-med minded, I’d be thinking “oh gee, mercury is terrible! There’s active research going on in how toxic it is…”

    It just seems like fodder for bad citation practices…

  7. vhurtig


    But that would mean putting politics before facts. Thats what the merc militia does, I don’t think we want to go down that path.

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