Periodontal disease links
also Mercury fillings info/history
 ADA Coverup vs. Amalgam/mercury fillings 
Is it really just the way you brush your teeth?





Peridontal disease is often caused by amalgam/mercury fillings.  Also check for Diabetes.

Do not have your fillings removed by just any dentist or instead of a small amount of mercury leaching into your body it will throw an overload of mercury into the body which can make the problem worse.  The dentist needs to know what he is doing when he removes the fillings.
(P.S. many vaccinations also contain mercury) 

http://www.amalgam.org
Many more great links

www.mercola.com/2001/jul/18/ada.htm
The ADA Misinformation on Mercury 

Bernhard Windham's Mercury Paper
Dental amalgam fillings page by Bernard Windham a Chemical Engineer 
What Causes Periodontal Disease?   

There is no safe level of mercury

www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.08.00/cremations-0023.html
Public calling for Crematories to remove amalgam fillings in teeth before cremating bodies. 
(toxic waste)

http://www.quackwatch.org
Has listed some blacklisted dentists who have gone against the ADA protocols - 
 

MERCURY FILLINGS AND HOW THEY DESTROY YOUR HEALTH!!!

Articles written by Dr. Deborah Baker-Racine©2000-2003
http://www.y2khealthanddetox.com

THE HISTORY OF HOW IT HAPPENED

Back in 1840, dentists formed the American Society of Dental Surgeons. Their members were required to sign pledges that they would NOT use mercury in the fillings they placed. There were even cases in New York in 1848 where dentists were fined for malpractice for using mercury in their filling material.

  Mercury was referred to as "quicksilver" in North American and in Europe was called "quacksalver" Therefore a "quack" was someone who pretends to cure disease and "salve" was an application for wounds. The term "quack" was first applied to anyone using mercury to cure skin diseases, e.g. the skin lesions associated with tertiary syphilis. The skin rash would disappear, but the disease went deeper into the organs and the nervous system and the person died a very painful death. The term was then used against dentists using mercury for the same reason, - using a poisonous substance to "cure" or fix decay.

Because of the internal feuds, a new dental organization was formed in 1859 – the American Dental Association (ADA). This body did NOT condemn the use of mercury, to the extreme now 140 years later; they try to crucify any dentist who tells his or her patients about the dangers of mercury! Many practitioners believe the ADA actually send undercover personnel into offices of practitioners who dare to speak the truth, to gather information against them and challenge their licenses.

If mercury is so safe, then why have whole countries such as Sweden, Germany, Denmark completely banned it? Some countries have even started to pay to have mercury replaced with resin fillings for its populace. Why can dentists not just throw it down the sink when they work, but have to treat it like the toxic waste it is, containerizing it and ridding of it by very stringent rules? Why have the governing bodies of dentistry in ANY country never been able to prove its safety?

Why in Canada was it politically manipulated to be exempt of the Medical Devices rulings for safety of anything implanted in the human body? 

MERCURY FACTS AND HEALTH CONCERNS.

Those "silver" fillings in your mouth are actually 50% or slightly more mercury. There is only about 35% silver in them along with 9% tin and 6% copper. The mercury is not inert or stable as you may have been told. In fact, every time you eat something acidic, hot or chew at all or brush your teeth, mercury gasses off directly into your system (80% of inhaled mercury goes to your lungs) and via your bloodstream, settles in various organs of the body, particularly the nervous system, liver, kidney, thyroid, pituitary, prostate, testes, ovaries and pancreas.

Studies by Clarkson (1998) and the World Health Organization related that one amalgam could release anywhere between 3-18 m gm/day of mercury. And yet, a Canadian conference suggested a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for mercury of only 1 m gm/day for a person weighing about 150 pounds. People with more than 2-3 amalgams, therefore are above the occupationally exposed acceptable levels. In fact, in a study done by Dr. Mark Richardson of Ottawa, Canada at the request of Health and Welfare Canada, it was seen that any more than 3 amalgams in the head of an adult were akin to occupational exposure. In other words, gave off as much mercury as if the person worked in an occupation where they were exposed to mercury on a daily basis. 

In a study done on over 1300 patients, symptoms were reported which ranged from:

Neurological Problems such as:
Chronic or frequent headaches 
Numbness and tingling anywhere 
Dizziness 
Ringing or noises in the ear 
Tremors in hands, feet, lips, eyelids, tongue 
Lowering of pain threshold

Psychological disorders such as:
Irritability
Nervousness
Shyness or timidity
Loss of memory
Inability to concentrate
Mental confusion
Mood changes
Lack of interest in life/hobbies, etc.
Attention Deficit Syndrome or similar problems
Decline of intellect
Loss of self-confidence
Anger and loss of self control
Depression
Crying spells
Anxiety
Drowsiness
Insomnia

Oral Cavity problems such as:
Bleeding gums
Bone loss and loosening of teeth
Foul breath
Excessive salivation
Metallic taste
White patches on the gums and/or cheeks
Chronic inflammation of gums or mouth
Ulcerations
Burning in the mouth or throat
Tissue black pigmentation

Gastrointestinal complaints such as:
Bloating and excessive gas
Abdominal cramps
Constipation or diarrhea
Irritable bowel syndrome
Colitis
Nausea
Loss of appetite
Voracious appetite and obesity
Excessive thirst

Cardiovascular problems such as:
Irregular heartbeat
Feeble and irregular pulse
Alterations in blood pressure
Arterial plaquing.

Inflammatory and immunological problems such as:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Fibromyalgia
Rheumatoid arthritis
Allergies
Sinusitis
Asthma
Muscle weakness and joint pain

Other problems such as:
Excessive perspiration without fever
Low body temperature, sometimes with clamminess
Skin rashes, especially around face, head and neck
Dim or double vision
Hypoxia (lack of oxygen)

Special Note: This will offer some very clear and personal experiences we can have with many of the basic substances in the IMVA cancer protocol. Meaning salt water, magnesium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, iodine and bentonite clay can all be used to great effect to cleanse and strenghten oral and dental environments. The experience of using these substances in the mouth gives us a close up feeling for how to use them for other applications like cancer in other parts of the body.

We cannot attain or maintain a complete state of
good health without healthy oral environments.
The incidence of oral cancer is on the rise. Current estimates have the rate of increase at around 11%, with approximately 34,000 people in the U.S. being diagnosed with oral cancers each year. Of those 34,000 newly diagnosed individuals only half will be alive in five years. Oral Cancer can mimic common mouth sores meaning most patients do not experience noticeable symptoms in the early stage of the disease process, and that is dangerous.

Scientists have also discovered a link between gum and pancreatic cancer in men. "Our study provides the first strong evidence that periodontal disease may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer," said Dr Dominique Michaud of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the research. Men with a history of periodontal disease had a 64 per cent increased risk of pancreatic cancer than men with no such history. And increased severity of periodontitis, for example with recent tooth loss, had the greatest risk. People with periodontal disease have an increased level of inflammatory markers such as C reactive protein (CRP) in their blood. These markers are part of an early immune system response to persistent inflammation and have been linked to the development of pancreatic cancer. It is the high levels of carcinogenic compounds that are present in the mouths of people with periodontal disease that increases risk of pancreatic cancer.[1]

Every year about 32,000 people in the US and 60,000 in Europe are diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. Because the symptoms of early development are often a common cause of other ailments (loss of appetite, stomach pains, weight loss), early diagnosis is very unusual. The contribution this study makes is to emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene, not only for oral health but also as a way to reduce the risk factor of a cancer that has the highest fatality rate among American men and women where less than 5 per cent of patients survive more than 5 years after diagnosis.

This is crucial to medicine and especially cancer treatment because it addresses a fundamental meeting point or converging causes of many diseases including cancer. Mercury vapors in the mouth which spreads mercury to all points in the body, increased use of antiboitics, periodontal disease, inappropriate oral care, yeast and fungal overgrowth, and decreasing immune strength are all colliding and reinforcing each other in a downward spiral that leads to chronic diseases and cancer. Most people and even dentists are surprised to find out that more often than not this all starts out in the mouth.
Most of our cancer patients have
a lot of amalgam dental fillings.

Professor W. Kostler
President of Austrian Society of Oncology
More than 50 million Americans suffer from periodontitis. The underlying causes of periodontal disease are infectious agents such as virus, bacteria, spirochetes, amoebas and fungus. Peridontitis is a micro climate that reflects the macro climate of the entire body. A published study in the Journal of Periodontology confirms recent findings that people with periodontal disease are at a greater risk of systemic diseases and appears to be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In periodontal disease the pathogens form a sticky, colorless plaque that constantly forms on our teeth; however other factors can cause periodontal (gum) disease or influence its progression.
Periodontal disease is a chronic
infection that leads to chronic disease.
Harvard Medical School researchers studied longevity and found that one of the most important contributing factors was daily flossing. Because it removes bacteria from the teeth and gums, flossing helps to prevent periodontal disease and gingivitis. Another study found that men with periodontitis had a whopping 72% greater risk of developing coronary disease. Gingivitis was associated with a 42% increased risk for men. A 1996 study involving over 1,100 individuals found that the incidence of coronary heart disease, fatal coronary disease, and strokes were all significantly related to their baseline periodontal status.[2]

"Around each one of your teeth there is a natural space between the gum and the tooth. The depth of this space is important. If it’s too deep, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and disease. Disease is diagnosed by redness, swelling, bleeding, odor and pocket depth. The presence or absence of gum disease is a reflection of an individual’s ability to withstand the negative influences of improper teeth care, daily eating, drinking, and even by the content of one’s own saliva," writes Dr. Ray G Behm Jr., DDS.
The most common strain of bacteria in dental plaque can
cause blood clots that induce heart attacks when they
escape into the bloodstream, researchers have reported.
As the plaque gets harder and thicker, it becomes what is known as dental calculus or tartar, a hard calcified layer that is virtually impossible to shift with normal brushing, you would have to get the dental hygienist to do it. It can even descend into pockets around the base of teeth inside the gums. This provides an ideal environment for the bacteria to breed and cause gum inflammation. For many people the symptoms are mild, with some bleeding but little pain or irritation, so it can be quite advanced before it is detected. It can also be associated with bad breath.

Research reveals that diseased gums pump high levels of harmful bacterial components into the bloodstream. The skin of the oral cavity is known as "Oral Mucosa". It is very rich with blood vessels and if outside bacteria and the toxins which they produce get into the blood stream, they are off and running throughout the body.

Mercury Fillings
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums around the teeth due in great part to improper cleaning of the teeth. Although systemic factors and general health can modify the tissue reactions to local irritants, the primary irritant is mercury containing dental amalgam. It is a well known fact in the published, peer-reviewed dental journals that mercury leaks directly from amalgam into adjacent oral tissues causing periodontal disease. In 1957, Zander (JADA, 55:11-15) reported "materials used in restorative dentistry may be a contributing factor in gingival disease." In 1961, App (J Prosth Dent 11:522-532) suggested that there was greater chronic inflammation around amalgam sites than non-amalgam areas. In 1964, Trott and Sherkat (J CDA, 30:766-770) showed that the presence of mercury amalgam correlates with gingival disease. Such disease was not present at contralateral amalgam-free sites. In 1973, Trivedi and Talim (J. Prosth. Dentistry, 29:73-81) demonstrated that 62% of amalgam sites have inflammatory periodontal tissue reaction. In 1976, Goldschmidt et al (J. Perio. Res., 11:108-115) demonstrated that amalgam corrosion products were cytotoxic to gingival cells at concentrations of 10-6; that is, micrograms/gram of tissue.[3]
The Richardson Report, a study completed for Canada health in 1995, The Richardson Report, a study completed for Canada health in 1995, found that the tolerable daily intake of mercury was exceeded in different age groups with the following number of amalgam fillings: adults -4, teenagers –3, children and toddlers –1.
Dr. Robert Gammal
Dentists and their parent dental associations are loath to inform patients that the mercury they place in the mouth is a deadly poison that negatively influences not only their oral environments but total body health as well. This is a shame that the majority of dentists will take to their grave. “Mercury is one of the most potent chemical inhibitors of thiol-sensitive enzymes and mercury vapour easily penetrates into the central nervous system,” writes Dr. Boyd Haley who goes on to say, “Amalgams leak mercury, this is a fact that any chemistry department can confirm. We have made amalgam fillings outside of the mouth, placed these fillings in sterile water for 15 minutes to several hours. We then tested this water for toxicity to tubulin and creatine kinase. The result was that the solutions in which amalgams were soaked (even for fifteen minutes) were extremely toxic.[4] This work is supported by reports doing similar experiments at the University of Michigan Dental School where they described solutions in which amalgams were soaked as being ‘extremely cytotoxic.’ [5]
It is estimated that an amalgam filling will release up to half of
its mercury content over a ten year period (50% corrosion rate).
Dr. Robert Gammal
“There is no safe level of mercury, and no one has actually shown that there is a safe level,” said Dr. Lars Friberg, Chief Adviser to the WHO on mercury safety. Survival Medicine has a two hundred page section called The Rising Tide of Mercury because mercury toxicity needs to be factored into all notions of health and disease today. “The Richardson Report, a study completed for Canada health in 1995, found that the tolerable daily intake of mercury was exceeded in different age groups with the following number of amalgam fillings:adults - 4, teenagers – 3, children and toddlers – 1,” reports Dr. Gammal. When you walk into a doctor’s office with serious health complaints the first thing they should do is ask you to open your mouth and take a look at your teeth. He should count the number of toxic mercury fillings that have been implanted into your mouth and make a quick calculation.
Dr. Hal A. Huggins stated that amalgam fillings can devastate human health. The most common form of exposure to mercury is by inhalation of vapor and there is widespread general agreement that this leads to a slowly developing and insidious poisoning, which at first yield psychic and other general effects that are vague and difficult to diagnose. The World Health Organization (WHO) in 1991 determined that dental amalgam was the greatest source of mercury contamination to the general population - up to ten times greater than all other sources combined[7], and that for mercury vapor, there is no known "no-observable-effect level (NOEL)". Yet dentists have continued to expose children to the toxic effects of mercury.

Children with amalgam are exposed to from tens to several hundreds of micrograms of mercury per day depending on how many fillings are in their mouth, how old the fillings are, how much a person brushes their teeth, chews and eats, the bacteria count in the mouth, and even the temperature of the body. Dr. Murry Vimy, professor of dentistry says, "It is estimated that the average individual, with eight biting surface mercury fillings, is exposed to a daily dose uptake of about 10 micrograms mercury from their fillings. Select individuals may have daily doses 10 times higher (lOOmcgs) because of factors which exacerbate the mercury vaporization.

Mercury is invisible in vapor form but we have to see that it’s raining mercury, literally. The FDA says it’s everywhere and for once they are right about something. People with mercury fillings have literal VAPORS FROM HELL in their mouths, fumes from their mercury dental fillings that rise up from their teeth 24/7 with more powerful bursts when chewing or drinking hot fluids. These vapors play havoc on the body through a host of means the least of which is to feed the bacteria,[8] fungi and yeasts that thrive on mercury. Mercury will promote the growth of Candida, though as it adsorbs the mercury it thereby protects the system to a certain extent from its toxicity. Candida cannot be effectively dealt with without dealing with the dental issues. This is not an optional appraoch, but necessarily part of the primary approach.
The list of organisms that have the highest affinity for toxic metals
reads like a "who's who" of our typical human infectious diseases:
fungi of the candida species, streptococci, staphylococci, amoebas, etc.
Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt
With mercury implanted in the majority of peoples’ mouths and with mercury now outdistancing lead as the number one polluter in the environment we can assume that mercury toxicity is playing a huge role in the creation of many diseases including cancer and heart disease, the number one and two causes of death.
There are poisonous time bombs going off in billions of mouths and few in medicine and dentistry are aware of it. Why dentistry did not study mercury chemistry before 1000’s of tons were implanted two inches from the brain and why allopathic medicine did not scream out warnings are questions we will be asking for a long time?
When we look at the fungal and yeast infections that are an integral aspect of cancer we should begin to understand the desperate need to include chelation of mercury in each and every cancer treatment. Mercury fed candida become more and more virulent and eventually penetrate and root into the intestinal walls and invade the cells. These fungal microorganisms become quite at home in the cell, and can easily be considered a principle characteristic of cancer. Survival Medicine has a two hundred page section on cancer and its treatment with sodium bicarbonate, which is proving to be effective against cancer because it is lethal to yeasts and fungi growths.
Mercury from amalgam fillings has been shown to be neurotoxic, embryotoxic, mutagenic, teratogenic, immunotoxic and clastogenic.[9] It is capable of causing immune dysfunction and auto-immune diseases.
Dr. Robert Gammal
When we consider mercury as one of the basic causes of cancer and heart disease we can begin to review our estimates on iatrogenic death and disease. Mercury toxicity is in the realm of chronic disease yet we also have to look at its ability to weaken the immune system and leave people vulnerable to acute infection. Mercury is often at the heart of periodontitis and many other diseases yet the vast majority of dentists are still in denial, which makes them inept at taking care of the problems they themselves create for patients. It is bad enough that they plant the mercury in the mouth but then they add insult and injury by suggesting, as they do, antibiotics that make the entire situation worse with the yeasts and fungus.

Iatrogenic dentistry is a new concept that has yet to be explored but already a great part of the civilized world understands the incredible stupidity and cruelty of floridated water, toothpaste and flouride treatments at the dental clinic and the continued widespread use of mercury containing dental amalgam. Harvard University Medical Center is just one of many universtities that recognize flouride as a cause of cancer. If one wants to study the basic elements of terrorism one need look no further than the people and organizations that support the floridation of public water supplies.

Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt and others have long observed that patients diagnosed with chronic viral illnesses (EBV, CMV, HIV, herpes zoster and genital herpes, CFIDS etc.), chronic fungal illnesses (Candidiasis and others) and recurrent episodes of bacterial infections (chronic sinusitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, bladder/prostate infections, HIV related infections) often have dramatic recoveries following an aggressive amalgam detoxification program. Detrimental accumulation of mercury from amalgam fillings lowers immunity through a depletion of beneficial, antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxidedismutase and catalase as well as the vital mineral selenium, which chemically is the best antidote to mercuy contamination.


Then.you could very well be a victim of mercury toxicity precipitated by your mercury containing "silver" fillings!

On the next page is a chart of a study done on over 1500 people:
 

SYMPTOMATIC RELIEF AFTER AMALGAM REMOVAL

The statistics listed were compiled by the Foundation For Toxic Free Dentistry (FTTD) on 1569 patients from 6 different reports:

********************************************************************

SELECTED HEALTH SYMPTOM ANALYSIS OF 1569 PATIENTS BEFORE AND AFTER ELIMINATION OF THEIR MERCURY-CONTAINING DENTAL FILLINGS

% of Total Symptoms Total No. No. Improved 
or cured
 % of 
Cure or
Improvement
14% ALLERGY 221 196 89%
5% ANXIETY  86 80 93%
5% BAD TEMPER 81 68 89%
6% BLOATING 88 70 88%
6% BLOOD PRESSURE PROBLEMS 99 53 54%
5% CHEST PAINS 79 69 87%
22% DEPRESSION 347 315 91%
22% DIZZINESS 343 301 88%
45% FATIGUE 705 603 86%
15% GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS 231 192 83%
8% GUM PROBLEMS 129 121 94%
34% HEADACHES 531 460 87%
3% MIGRANE HEADACHES 45 39 87%
12% INSOMNIA 187 146 78%
10%  IRREGULAR HEARTBEAT 159 139 87%
8% IRRITABILITY 132 119 90%
17% LACK OF CONCENTRATION 270 216 80%
6% LACK OF ENERGY 91 88 97%
17% MEMORY LOSS 265 193 73%
17% METALLIC TASTE 260 247 95%
7% MULTPILE SCLEROSIS 113 86 76%
8% MUSCLE TREMOR 126 104 83%
10% NERVOUSNESS 158 131 83%
8% NUMBNESS ANYWHERE 118 97 82%
20% SKIN DISTURBANCES 310 251 81%
9% SORE THROAT 149 128 86%
6% TACHYCARDIA 97 68 70%
4% THYROID PROBLEMS 56 44 79%
12% ULCERS & SORES
(ORAL CAVITY)
189 162 86%
7% URINARY TRACT PROBLEMS 115 87 76%

COMMON SOURCES OF MERCURY

Mining, smelters, combustion of fossil fuel and refining of gold. 
Used in chloralkali industry in the production of chlorine and caustic soda containing products. 
Used in electrical industry, in production of thermometers and barometer, fluorescent tubes and alkaline batteries. 
Dental fillings (WHO 1991a)- the largest exposure to the world’s population for non-occupationally exposed people.
MECHANISMS OF TOXICITY

Mercury disrupts your body’s biochemistry and physiology in a number of ways:

Disturbances in the production of larger molecules such as proteins and the nucleic acids which are the core of DNA and RNA. 

Disruption in the balance of calcium…not good news when you consider how often we hear of people being diagnosed with osteoporosis. Another point in this area is that the liver and the kidney are two major organs effected by mercury and compromised in their ability to function under mercury’s influence. Vitamin D, which is produced in the skin, is augmented to the much more active hormone forms first by the liver, then the kidney. If their function has been debilitated, the conversion to the more active Vitamin D forms may not occur as well. These activated forms are essential for proper calcium uptake and utilization, hence another nail in the coffin of calcium balance. 

Free radical injury to the cells of the body, resulting in oxidative stress. What this means is that the free radicals, which are produced as a result of mercury’s interaction with the cell, result in cellular damage, particularly to the membranes of the cell. 

Many proteins need to have phosphorus derivatives attached to them, and mercury will get in the way of this. This may explain, at least to some degree, the incredible fatigue mercury patients experience. The molecule in your body responsible for energy –ATP- looses a phosphate group when you use it and becomes ADP. Then another phosphate must be added to "refurbish" it to ATP, so your body can reuse it and mercury gets in the way of this. 

The kidney is of great concern in mercury toxicity. In people who are occupationally exposed, studies have seen the incredible cell damage and protein leakage from the kidney. In the sensitive mercury patient with even just a few amalgam fillings, the same damage can be seen. The general public may show varying levels of this damage. The World Health Organization in 1991 concluded that urinary mercury of more than 100 m gm/gm creatinine (about 80 m gm/m3) or more increases the risk of neurological (tumour development) and protein in the urine leading to kidney damage. 

Research in the past few years, particularly from Europe has shown the devastating consequences mercury has on the effectiveness of the white blood cell of your immune system. It also can be part of the cause in autoimmune diseases such as the more serious arthritides, allergies, and some researchers believe, multiple sclerosis, lupus and Lou Gehrig’s disease. 

Mercury definitely has the ability to cross the placental membranes and so cause health disorders in the unborn child. In studies done by Marsh et al in 1981 and 1987, they showed that mothers with hair mercury levels of 70-640 m g/gm of hair during pregnancy have 30% increased risk of psychomotor and other neurological disorders in their infants. Even as low as 10-20 m g/gm can increase risk to 5% (WHO 1990).

Taken from -  newsletter by http://www.byregion.net/
Please contact them at: newsletter@byregion.net for more newsletters
 
By Myron Levin
Times Staff Writer

February 8, 2005

A memo from Merck & Co. shows that, nearly a decade before the first public
disclosure, senior executives were concerned that infants were getting an
elevated dose of mercury in vaccinations containing a widely used
sterilizing agent.

The March 1991 memo, obtained by The Times, said that 6-month-old children
who received their shots on schedule would get a mercury dose up to 87 times
higher than guidelines for the maximum daily consumption of mercury from
fish.

"When viewed in this way, the mercury load appears rather large," said the
memo from Dr. Maurice R. Hilleman, an internationally renowned
vaccinologist. It was written to the president of Merck's vaccine division.

The memo was prepared at a time when U.S. health authorities were
aggressively expanding their immunization schedule by adding five new shots
for children in their first six months. Many of these shots, as well as some
previously included on the vaccine schedule, contained thimerosal, an
antibacterial compound that is nearly 50% ethyl mercury, a neurotoxin.

Federal health officials disclosed for the first time in 1999 that many
infants were being exposed to mercury above health guidelines through
routine vaccinations. The announcement followed a review by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration that was described at the time as a first effort to
assess the cumulative mercury dose.

But the Merck memo shows that at least one major manufacturer was aware of
the concern much earlier.

"The key issue is whether thimerosal, in the amount given with the vaccine,
does or does not constitute a safety hazard," the memo said. "However,
perception of hazard may be equally important."

Merck officials would not discuss the contents of the memo, citing pending
litigation.

Separately, the drug giant is trying to fend off a legal onslaught over
Vioxx, the popular painkiller it introduced in 1999. The company, based in
Whitehouse Station, N.J., faces hundreds of lawsuits claiming that the drug
caused heart problems and that Merck concealed the risks. Merck, which in
September pulled Vioxx off the market, has denied the allegations.

The legacy of thimerosal, meanwhile, also is causing problems for Merck and
other drug companies.

More than 4,200 claims have been filed in a special federal tribunal, the
Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, by parents asserting that their
children suffered autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders from mercury
in vaccines. A handful of similar claims are awaiting trial in civil courts.
The plaintiffs cite various scientific studies that they say prove the
dangers of thimerosal, including at the levels found in vaccines.

Thimerosal has been largely removed from pediatric vaccines in recent years
in what health officials have described as a precautionary measure. (This
has been accomplished as drug makers have voluntarily switched from
multi-dose vials of vaccine, which require a chemical preservative like
thimerosal, to single-dose containers.)

In September, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation prohibiting
vaccines with more than trace amounts of thimerosal from being given to
babies and pregnant women. Iowa has a similar ban.

For their part, Merck and other vaccine makers, along with many government
health officials and scientists, say there is no credible evidence of harm
from the amounts of mercury once widely present in kids' shots. They cite a
report in May by a committee of the national Institute of Medicine
concluding that the evidence "favors rejection of a causal relationship"
between vaccines and autism.

The seven-page Merck memo was provided to The Times by James A. Moody, a
Washington lawyer who works with parent groups on vaccine safety issues. He
said he obtained it from a whistle-blower whom he would not name.

The memo provides the "first hard evidence that the companies knew - or at
least Merck knew - that the children were getting significantly more
mercury" than the generally accepted dose, the lawyer said.

He also provided a copy to attorneys for Vera Easter, a Texas woman who
blames thimerosal for the condition of her 7-year-old son, Jordan, who is
autistic and mentally retarded. The Easter lawsuit is pending in U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The defendants include
Merck; rival vaccine makers GlaxoSmithKline, Aventis Pasteur Inc. and Wyeth;
and thimerosal developer Eli Lilly & Co.

Easter's lawyer, Andy Waters, described the memo as "incredibly damning and
incredibly significant." After receiving it in the fall, he confronted Merck
lawyers about why he hadn't seen it earlier.

In a letter to Waters in October, Merck attorneys said they had in fact made
available 32 boxes of records, but that the copying service hired by the
plaintiffs for some reason had failed to copy several of the boxes -
including the one with the Hilleman memo.

"The memo," said company spokeswoman Mary Elizabeth Blake, "was produced
voluntarily by Merck in the ordinary course of discovery proceedings."

Hilleman is a former senior vice president of Merck who developed numerous
vaccines for the company. A 1999 profile in the Philadelphia Inquirer said
that "it is no exaggeration to assert, as many scientists do, that Maurice
Hilleman has saved more lives than any other living scientist."

Hilleman, 85, currently director of the Merck Institute for Vaccinology, had
officially retired and was a consultant to Merck when he wrote the '91 memo.
He declined to be interviewed.

The memo was sent to Dr. Gordon Douglas, then head of Merck's vaccine
division and now a consultant for the Vaccine Research Center at the
National Institutes of Health. Douglas also declined to comment.

The memo stated that regulators in several countries had raised concerns
about thimerosal, including in Sweden, where the chemical was being removed
from vaccines.

"The public awareness has been raised by the sequential wave of experiences
in Sweden including mercury exposure from additives, fish, contaminated air,
bird deaths from eating mercury-treated seed grains, dental amalgam leakage,
mercury allergy, etc.," the memo said.

It noted that Sweden had set a daily maximum allowance of mercury from fish
of 30 micrograms for a 160-pound adult, roughly the same guideline used by
the FDA. Adjusting for the body weight of infants, Hilleman calculated that
babies who received their shots on schedule could get 87 times the mercury
allowance.

The Swedish and FDA guidelines work out to about four-tenths of a microgram
of mercury per kilogram of body weight. A stricter standard of one-tenth of
a microgram per kilogram has been adopted by the Environmental Protection
Agency and endorsed by the National Research Council.

These standards are based on methyl mercury, the type found in fish and
airborne emissions from power plants. Though toxic, the ethyl mercury in
thimerosal may be less hazardous than methyl mercury, some scientists say,
because it is more quickly purged from the body.

"It appears essentially impossible, based on current information, to
ascertain whether thimerosal in vaccines constitutes or does not constitute
a significant addition to the normal daily input of mercury from diverse
sources," the memo said.

"It is reasonable to conclude" that it should be eliminated where possible,
he said, "especially where use in infants and young children is
anticipated."

In the U.S., however, thimerosal continued to be added throughout the '90s
to a number of widely used pediatric vaccines for hepatitis B, bacterial
meningitis, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.

It was added to multi-dose vials of vaccine to prevent contamination from
repeated insertion of needles to extract the medicine. It was not needed in
single-dose vials, but most doctors and clinics preferred to order vaccine
in multi-dose containers because of the lower cost and easier storage.

The Hilleman memo said that unlike regulators in Sweden and some other
countries, "the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . does not have this
concern for thimerosal."

A turning point came in 1997 when Congress passed a bill ordering an FDA
review of mercury ingredients in food and drugs.

Completed in 1999, the review revealed the high level of mercury exposure
from pediatric vaccines and raised a furor. In e-mails later released at a
congressional hearing, an FDA official said health authorities could be
criticized for "being 'asleep at the switch' for decades by allowing a
potentially hazardous compound to remain in many childhood vaccines, and not
forcing manufacturers to exclude it from new products."

It would not have taken "rocket science" to add up the amount of exposure as
the prescribed number of shots was increasing, one of the e-mails said.

While asserting that there was no proof of harm, the U.S. Public Health
Service in July 1999 called on manufacturers to go mercury-free by switching
to single-dose vials. Soon after, Merck introduced a mercury-free version of
its hepatitis B vaccine, replacing the only thimerosal-containing vaccine it
was still marketing at the time, a company spokesman said.

By 2002, thimerosal had been eliminated or reduced to trace levels in nearly
all childhood vaccines. One exception is the pediatric flu vaccine made by
Aventis and still sold mainly in multi-dose vials.

Robert E. Reeves
REEVES LAW OFFICE
167 West Main St., Suite 1310
Lexington, KY 40507
 

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