In 29 volunteers with a low amalgam load, the number of amalgam-covered tooth surfaces and the occlusal area of the fillings were determined. Concentrations of total mercury were measured in plasma and erythrocytes as well as in urine together with the excretion rate. Absorbed daily doses were estimated from intraoral Hg emission by two separate methods. The transfer of Hg from the fillings via the oral cavity and blood to urinary excretion was evaluated according to the most representative combination of parameters. This consisted of urinary excretion (1), Hg concentration in plasma (2), absorbed dose (3), and occlusal area (4). Pairwise correlation coefficients were 0.75 for parameters 1 vs 2 and 2 vs 3 and 0.49 for parameters 3 vs 4. Within 9 days after removal of the fillings, a transient increase was observed in plasma Hg levels only. This was reduced in those volunteers to whom a rubber dam had been applied during removal. Peak plasma Hg was 0.6 ng/ml on average and decreased with halftimes between 5 and 13 days. A significant decrease in Hg excretion was noted not before 100 days after removal. Being relatively insensitive to dietary mercury, the determination of total mercury in plasma and of its urinary excretion rate appears, under practical aspects, most suitable for the investigation of Hg uptake from amalgam.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.