The risks of mercury exposure arising from the use of dental amalgam fillings are reviewed and discussed. On the basis of both knowledge acquired in various scientific disciplines and ten years of experience in the field it is concluded that mercury from amalgam may well contribute significantly to a number of modern health problems and to decreased quality of life in a large population group in many countries. Erroneous opinion as to "negligible" mercury exposure and lack of cooperation between the dental, medical and other professions are two important factors in the issue. There is both biological and metallurgical evidence that typical Hg-exposure levels produced by amalgam fillings are 5-10-fold higher than what are regarded as safe limits for exposure to mercury from other sources. There is no doubt that dental mercury should be taken into consideration as a possible etiological factor when considering neurological, immunological and endocrinological diseases of unknown etiology. Protective measures during amalgam removal and prospects for alternative dental materials are discussed.