The total mercury concentrations in the liver (Hg-L), the kidney cortex (Hg-K) and the cerebral cortex (Hg-C) of 108 children aged 1 day-5 years, and the Hg-K and Hg-L of 46 fetuses were determined. As far as possible, the mothers were interviewed and their dental status was recorded. The results were compared to mercury concentrations in the tissues of adults from the same geographical area. The Hg-K (n = 38) and Hg-L (n = 40) of fetuses and Hg-K (n = 35) and Hg-C (n = 35) of older infants (11-50 weeks of life) correlated significantly with the number of dental amalgam fillings of the mother. The toxicological relevance of the unexpected high Hg-K of older infants from mothers with higher numbers of dental amalgam fillings is discussed.
Conclusion: Future discussion on the pros and cons of dental amalgam should not be limited to adults or children with their own amalgam fillings, but also include fetal exposure. The unrestricted application of amalgam for dental restorations in women before and during the child-bearing age should be reconsidered.