Effect of teeth amalgam on mercury levels in the colostrums human milk in Lenjan


Human milk is usually the only source of food for infants during the first 4 to 5 months of their life. Maternal environmental mercury exposure is directly related to fish consumption or amalgam filling. In this research, 38 human milk samples were collected from mothers of Lenjan area who were not occupationally exposed with mercury. Mercury concentration in human milk was determined by AMA254 Mercury Analyzer. A level of mercury was examined in relation to somatometric, demographic and dental amalgam parameters. Obtained results showed that only dental amalgam significantly increased the mercury level in human milk (p < 0.001). The mean mercury concentrations in milk of mothers without teeth fillings (n = 13), with one to three teeth fillings (n = 10), and four to eight teeth fillings (n = 15) were 2.87, 5.47, and 13.33 μg/l, respectively. The result of this study also showed a positive correlation of mercury milk levels with the number of teeth fillings of the mother (p < 0.05, r = 0.755). The estimated weekly intake of mercury of a breastfed infant in this study was, in some cases, higher than provisional tolerance weekly intake recommended by FAO/WHO, which pose a threat to their health.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Barbosa, A. C., & Dorea, J. G. (1998). Indicate of mercury contamination during breast feeding in the Amazon Basin. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, 6(2), 71–79.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Dorea, J. G., & Donangelo, C. M. (2006). Early (in uterus and infant) exposure to mercury and lead. Clinical Nutrition, 25, 369–376.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Drasch, G., Aigner, S., Roider, G., Staiger, F., & Lipowsky, G. (1998). Mercury in human colostrums and early breast milk. Its dependence on dental amalgam and other factors. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 12, 23–27.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Drexler, H., & Schaller, K. H. (1998). The mercury concentration in breast milk resulting from amalgam fillings and dietary habits. Environmental Research, 77, 124–129.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. FAO/WHO (1978). Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants: Twenty-second report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, WHO Technical Report Series, Vol. 631, WHO, Geneva.

  6. FAO/WHO. (1993). Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants: Forty-first report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives), WHO Technical Report Series Vol. 837, WHO, Geneva.

  7. Gundacker, C., Pietschnig, B., Wittmann, K., Lischka, A., Salzer, H., Hohenauer, L., et al. (2002). Lead and mercury in breast milk. Pediatrics, 110(5), 873–878.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Harakeh, S., Sabra, N., Kassak, K., Doughan, B., & Sukhan, C. (2003). Mercury and arsenic levels among Lebanese dentists: A call for action. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 70(4), 629–635.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Klemann, D., Weinhold, J., Strubelt, O., Pentz, R., Jungblut, J. R., & Klink, F. (1990). The influence of amalgam fillings on the Hg-concentrations in amniotic fluid and breast milk. Deutsche ZahnaÉrztliche Zeitschrift, 3, 142–145.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Langworth, S., Elinder, C. G., Gothe, C. J., & Vesterberg, O. (1991). Biological monitoring of environmental and occupational exposure to mercury. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 63(3), 161–167.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Lindow, S. W., Knight, R., Batty, J., & Haswell, S. J. (2003). Maternal and neonatal hair mercury concentration: The effect of dental amalgam. BJOG, 110, 287–291.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Lorscheider, F. L., Vimy, M. J., & Summers, A. O. (1995). Mercury exposure from “silver” tooth fillings: Emerging evidence questions a traditional dental paradigm. FASEB, 9, 504–508.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Oskarsson, A., Schultz, A., Skerfving, S., Hallen, I. P., Ohlin, B., & Lagerkvist, B. J. (1996). Total and inorganic mercury in breast milk in relation to fish consumption and amalgam in lactating women. Archives of Environmental Health, 51, 234–241.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Saleh, I. A. L., Shinwari, N., & Mashhour, A. (2003). Heavy metal concentrations in the breast milk of Saudi women. Biological Trace Element Research, 96(1–3), 21–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Skerfving, S. (1988). Mercury in women exposed to methylmercury through fish consumption, and in their newborn babies and breast milk. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 41(4), 475–482.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Unuvar, E., Ahmadov, H., Kiziler, A. R., Aydemir, B., Toprak, S., Ulker, V., et al. (2007). Total Environment, 374, 60–70.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Ursinyova, M., & Masanova, V. (2005). Cadmium, lead and mercury in human milk from Slovakia. Food Additives and Contaminants, 22, 579–589.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Vahter, M., Akesson, A., Lind, B., Bjors, U., Schutz, A., & Berglund, M. (2000). Longitudinal study of methylmercury and inorganic mercury in blood and urine of pregnant and lactating women, as well as in umbilical cord blood. Environmental Research, 84(2), 186–194.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Vimy, M. J., Hooper, D. E., King, W. W., & Lorscheider, F. L. (1997). Mercury from maternal “silver” tooth fillings in sheep and human breast milk. A source of neonatal exposure. Biological Trace Element Research, 56(2), 143–152.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nader Bahramifar.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Norouzi, E., Bahramifar, N. & Ghasempouri, S.M. Effect of teeth amalgam on mercury levels in the colostrums human milk in Lenjan. Environ Monit Assess 184, 375–380 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-011-1974-1

Download citation


  • Mercury
  • Breast milk
  • Dental amalgam
  • Lenjan Isfahan