Comments on the article "the toxicology of mercury and its chemical compounds" by Clarkson and Magos (2006)

Crit Rev Toxicol. 2007;37(6):537-49; discussion 551-2. doi: 10.1080/10408440701385770.


Clarkson and Magos (2006) provide their perspectives on the toxicology of mercury vapor and dental amalgam. As scientists who are involved in preparing a German federal guideline regarding dental amalgam, we welcome additional scientific data on this issue. However, Clarkson and Magos do not present all the relevant studies in their review. The additional data provided here show that: (a) Dental amalgam is the main source of human total mercury body burden, because individuals with amalgam have 2-12 times more mercury in their body tissues compared to individuals without amalgam; (b) there is not necessarily a correlation between mercury levels in blood, urine, or hair and in body tissues, and none of the parameters correlate with severity of symptoms; (c) the half-life of mercury deposits in brain and bone tissues could last from several years to decades, and thus mercury accumulates over time of exposure; (d) mercury, in particular mercury vapor, is known to be the most toxic nonradioactive element, and is toxic even in very low doses, and (e) some studies which conclude that amalgam fillings are safe for human beings have important methodogical flaws. Therefore, they have no value for assessing the safety of amalgam.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / etiology
  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder / etiology
  • Body Burden
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Dental Amalgam / pharmacokinetics
  • Dental Amalgam / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Mercury / pharmacokinetics
  • Mercury / toxicity*
  • Mercury / urine
  • Mercury Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Mercury Compounds / toxicity*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects


  • Mercury Compounds
  • Dental Amalgam
  • Mercury