Human brain mercury levels related to exposure to amalgam fillings

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2014 Aug;33(8):873-7. doi: 10.1177/0960327113509662. Epub 2013 Oct 31.


The safety of dental amalgam as the primary material in dental restoration treatments has been debated since its introduction. It is widely accepted that amalgam restorations continuously release elemental mercury (Hg) vapor, which is inhaled and absorbed by the body and distributed to tissues, including the brain. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the presence of amalgam fillings is correlated with brain Hg level. The Hg levels in the parietal lobes of the brains of 32 cadavers were analyzed with an atomic absorption spectrometer with the mercury hydride system. A total of 32 brain samples were tested; of these, 10 were from cadavers with amalgam fillings, while 22 of them were amalgam free. Hg was detected in 60.0% (6 of 10) of the samples in the amalgam group and in 36.3% (8 of 22) in the amalgam-free group. The average Hg level of the amalgam group was 0.97 ± 0.83 µg/g (minimum: 0.3 µg/g and maximum: 2.34 µg/g), and in the amalgam-free group, it was 1.06 ± 0.57 µg/g (minimum: 0.17 µg/g and maximum: 1.76 µg/g). The results of the present study showed no correlation between the presence of amalgam fillings and brain Hg level.

Keywords: Amalgam; brain mercury; toxicology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Burden
  • Cadaver
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dental Amalgam / adverse effects
  • Dental Amalgam / metabolism*
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / adverse effects
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mercury / adverse effects
  • Mercury / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Young Adult


  • Dental Amalgam
  • Mercury