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Assessment and Management of Raised Burden of Metals & Chemicals

Whilst acute heavy metal poisoning is now considered rare, there is an increasing awareness that susceptible individuals may develop a number of health problems relating to chronic, low dose exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins. These are now ubiquitous in our food, air, water, and surroundings. It is now generally accepted that there is no "safe" level for metals such as mercury or lead. Toxic metals appear to be important not only through causing direct toxicity but also by sensitising the immune system and causing hypersensitivity to a range of substances in the patients’ environment. A number of measures can be used to eliminate unwanted toxic (heavy) metals from the body.

A number of laboratories can assess the body’s burden of toxic metals such as mercury, aluminium, cadmium and lead in a number of different ways. We frequently find evidence of increased levels of nickel and mercury in patients we test. Mercury is the third most toxic metal and has been routinely used in so-called silver amalgam. This is the major source of exposure in most patients although increasingly contaminated fish and seafood is contributing to the body’s load of mercury.

The World Health Organisation has sponsored many studies in various parts of the world on the effect of mercury in human beings and several countries such as the Scandinavian countries have now banned its use in most dental patients. German insurance companies will now pay for the removal of amalgams from teeth and one of the major manufacturers of amalgams in Germany has now withdrawn from business. The American Food And Drugs Administration (FDA) has finally in 2008 acknowledged the potential risk of mercury to the unborn child and the young.


The Burghwood Clinic, 34 Brighton Road [A217], Banstead, Surrey SM7 1BS, England
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