Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 80, Issue 1–4, pp 59–67 | Cite as

Mass balance and systemic uptake of mercury released from dental amalgam fillings

  • I. Skare
Part I Mercury and Human Health


The release of mercury (Hg) from dental amalgam fillings has been verified by several authors. In this study, the emission rate of Hg°-vapor from the oral cavity (O-Hg) and the urinary Hg-excretion rate (U-Hg) have been studied with 34 healthy individuals. In ten cases, the urinary excretions of silver (U-Ag) and the fecal excretions of Hg and Ag (F-Hg, F-Ag) were also monitored. All variables, except U-Ag, were significantly related to the load of amalgam. According to this study, an individual with a moderate load of amalgam, i.e. 30 restored surfaces, is predicted to exhibit the following emission rates: O-Hg=22, U-Hg=3, F-Hg=60 and F-Ag=27 μg/d (d=24 hours), consistent with a gross mass balance for Hg of approximately 60 μg/d. The corresponding systemic uptake of Hg was estimated to 12 μg/d based on external data relating air Hg°-exposures to urinary Hg-excretions. The worst case individual showed a gross mass balance of 200 μg Hg/d connected to a systemic uptake of 70 μg Hg/d. These values were compared to the average intake of total-Hg by a Swedish diet (2 μg/d) and to the WHO's tolerable value for intake of total-Hg by food (45 μg/d). Upscaled to the entire Swedish population (8 mill.), the data suggests a fecal/urinary emission to the environment of 100 kg Hg yearly originating from a population load of amalgam fillings containing 90,000 kg of Hg.


Mercury Healthy Individual Mass Balance Urinary Excretion Oral Cavity 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Skare
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of Occupational HealthSolnaSweden

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