High-field MRI and mercury release from dental amalgam fillings

Int J Occup Environ Med. 2014 Apr;5(2):101-5.


Mercury is among the most toxic nonradioactive elements which may cause toxicity even at low doses. Some studies showed release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings in individuals who used mobile phone. This study was conducted to assess the effect of high-field MRI on mercury release from dental amalgam filling. We studied two groups of students with identical tooth decays requiring a similar pattern of restorative dentistry. They were exposed to a magnetic flux density of 1.5 T produced by a MRI machine. 16 otherwise healthy students with identical dental decay participated in this study. They underwent similar restorative dentistry procedures and randomly divided into two groups of MRI-exposed and control arms. Urinary concentrations of mercury in the control subjects were measured before (hour 0) and 48 and 72 hrs after amalgam restoration, using cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry. Urinary concentrations of mercury in exposed individuals were determined before (hour 0), and 24, 48, 72 and 96 hrs after amalgam restoration. Unlike control subjects, they underwent conventional brain MRI (15 min, 99 slices), 24 hrs after amalgam restoration. The mean±SD urinary mercury levels in MRI-exposed individuals increased linearly from a baseline value of 20.70±17.96 to 24.83±22.91 μg/L 72 hrs after MRI. In the control group, the concentration decreased linearly from 20.70±19.77 to 16.14±20.05 μg/L. The difference between urinary mercury in the exposed and control group, 72 hrs after MRI (96 h after restoration),was significant (p=0.046). These findings provide further support for the noxious effect of MRI (exposure to strong magnetic field)and release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dental Amalgam / adverse effects
  • Dental Amalgam / chemistry*
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / adverse effects*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Mercury / urine*
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Young Adult


  • Dental Amalgam
  • Mercury