Dental amalgam dispenser.
|Dental amalgam dispenser.|
This device is designed to mix a carefully measured amount of liquid mercury with a small pellet composed mostly of silver. The mercury and pellet are automatically dispensed into a mixing egg, which you shake to mix the two ingredients. Then you pack the resulting amalgam into someone's tooth, assuming you're a dentist. It is claimed that such amalgam fillings can remain in you for decades without releasing their toxic mercury into your body. Fine with me if you want to try it, but when I recently had to have a bunch of fillings replaced, I was happy to choose the more modern ceramic/polymer alternative.
I got this device on eBay, home of many slightly scary objects. It came with a full pound of high grade mercury metal, in what looks like an ordinary plastic bottle such as you might find containing eye drops or something. (A pound of mercury is very small, you see.) Needless to say it was not shipped according to the proper packaging and labeling requirements needed to legally ship such a large quantity of mercury. Unless, that is, there is a special exception for dental mercury, which would not surprise me one bit. A friend who works at a chemical company complains that a dentist removing a single amalgam filling and washing it down the drain releases, legally, more mercury contamination than their entire factory is permitted to release in a month.
Reader Andrzej Kasperowicz pointed out the following fascinating videos, which show mercury vapor wafting up from a disturbed amalgam filling:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=9ylnQ-T7oiAKind of scary to see it so vividly. He also pointed out this absolutely fascinating study, which seems to demonstrate that cell phone or MRI radiation shortly after dental work with amalgam can accelerate the release of mercury. This is not as crazy as it might sound since the amalgam is conductive and could very well respond to radio and microwave radiation.
Source: eBay seller kellypeterson
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 30 September, 2005
Text Updated: 18 January, 2009
Sample Group: Medical