Amalgam - 1896


27.5.2001


"Amalgam and kindred poisons". 

Sheffield H.  "Amalgam and kindred poisons".  

THE DENTAL HEADLIGHT, 17:14-18 (1896).

Health is a subject in which every individual is inter-
ested.  How to secure it, how to protect it from impairment
by poisonous substances and other detrimental agents, gives
man the most anxious thoughts of life, and the philanthropist
his most benevolent study.  Filling carious teeth with amalgam
is destructive to health;  it, with other poisonous substances,
will be the theme of this article.

The poisonous effects of amalgam are not generally recog-
nized;  is not cared for properly, therefore, its injurious
effects should be as widely known as its use.  One of the
ingredients of amalgam is quicksilver, which will rapidly
oxidize when exposed to the air.  Those men who mine it and
inhale its vapors are salivated;  they suffer from cerebral
diseases, they are palsied, they sink into marasmus, and die
prematurely.  Plants that are exposed to the vapor of quick-
silver in a close room will perish in a few days.

It is but a few years since a merchant ship left San Fran-
cisco, and in her cargo was a large quantity of quicksilver.
It was not securely confined;  it escaped and ran into the
hold of the ship.  There it came in contact with bilge water,
by which it was soon oxidized, and its vapor permeated the
hull of the ship.  The crew of the ship were salivated, the
canary bird caged in the cabin, the pigs and the fowls, each
in their own quarters, and the rats in the hold died from
inhaling the poisonous vapor.

When quicksilver is dissolved in nitric acid the product
is nitrate of mercury.  Let me enumerate some of the poison-
ous effects of mercury on the human family.  A metallic taste
in the mouth, headache, soreness and sponginess of the gums,
pain in the sockets of the teeth when pressed together, fetid
breath, ptyalism, ulceration of the mucous membrance of the
mouth, fauces, larynx, and bronchia, loss of voice, hectic
fever, profuse perspiration, emaciation, and death.  Quick-
silver will dissolve in strong acid;  it will oxidize in
open air, in contact with fetid water, in the mouth when
exposed to acids and vitiated secretions, and when swallowed
with them is absorbed by the stomach, and its effects poison-
ous.  The quantity of this oxide taken into the stomach in
one week or a month will be comparatively small, but when
swallowed, as it is for years, will certainly produce the
poisonous effects of mercury, and in nearly the same order
as heretofore enumerated.  The mercurial effect of this
oxide is not as rapidly and extensively developed in persons
of bilious phlegmatic temperaments as in persons of nervous
sanguine temperaments, who are by heredity predisposed to
glandular and bronchial diseases.

"We know that great grief, fright, intense anger, may so
poison the milk of the nursing mother as to carry death to
the child.  Prof. Elmer Gates, of the Smithsonian Institution,
has not only isolated the poison and shown it in crystals,
but has demonstrated that bad and unpleasant feelings create
harmful chemical products in the body which are physically
injurious, while good, pleasant, and benevolent feelings
create beneficial chemical products, and these products may
be detected by chemical analysis in the perspiration and
urine".  Now, if mental emotions can create poisonous chem-
ical products, it is absolutely certain that chemical sub-
stances introduced into the blood will destroy its purity
and create disease in some part or organ of the body for
which that substance has an elective affinity.

A great many persons possess an idiosyncrasy peculiar to
themselves.  One person will faint from one odor, another
from a different one.  One has fainted from the odor of
copper, while hundreds of others have worn it in contact
with the body, and it has relieved them of cramp or rheuma-
tism or neuralgia.  Those persons who have been salivated
are particularly sensitive to mercury;  in them I have
frequently seen ulcers of the mouth and fauces produced by
a few doses of mercury, each dose containing less than the
one-thousandth part of a grain.  Those persons who have been
salivated and have amalgam fillings in their teeth, frequently
suffer from mercurial rheumatism and other symptoms of that
poison;  in fact, some are walking barometers, and by their
pain can foretell a change of weather.  When the liver has
been stored with atoms of mercury, it can be stimulated to
increased secretion by acids, hence their frequent use.

The proverb, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the
children's teeth are set on edge", is an eternal fact which
appears to be little known and less observed in this country.
The effects of mercury and other poisonous substances is not
confined to parents who use them, but are transmitted to
their children, "even to the third and fourth generations".
It is not, therefore, what comes out of the parents' mouths
that defiles them and produces diseases in their children,
but that which they put into them.  The use of alcoholic
drinks, drugs, tobacco, morphia, with many other poisons,
is destroying the physical stamina and mental equilibrium
of native Americans and making them selfish and evil.  The
free use of deleterious substances will degrade the natural
body and make it an unfit temple for the soul.

If you would learn the effects of poisonous substances,
examine carefully the children of native Americans who have
used such enormous quantities of them.  You will find them
with enlarged tonsils, glandular swellings, skin diseases,
catarrhal affections of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat,
subject to croup, teeth and bones imperfectly developed;
they easily succumb to inflammatory conditions, and marasmus
ends their early career.  Our asylums for the vicious, the
insane, the orphan, the blind, the mute, the deaf are crowded
with them.  These facts show the rapid decline of native
Americans (physically, mentally, and morally) during the past
century, and if the same course is pursued of constantly
swallowing poisons, it will not require a prophet to foretell
their ultimate extinction.  "Weighed in the balance, and found
wanting", is the writing on the wall;  and unless philanthrop-
ists and reformers waken native Americans to their danger,
they will not escape their doom.

For forty years patients have come to me with teeth filled
with amalgam, each one suffering with some of the symptoms
enumerated in poisoning by mercury.  After the amalgam had
been removed, and their teeth refilled with gold, they soon
began to improve, and ultimately recovered, except those who
had ulceration of epiglottis, larynx, trachea, and bronchia,
acompanied with hectic.  The facts presented with my own
statement IS POSITIVE EVIDENCE, and it cannot be lessened or
destroyed by any amount of NEGATIVE EVIDENCE or ridicule.

To my patients I state plainly the effect of amalgam fill-
ings and its disastrous consequences.  They then consult their
favorite dentist, who declares their teeth to be in good con-
dition, and he is acquainted with persons who have worn amal-
gam fillings for many years without any injury, and he knows
it can do them no harm.  To this statement I will reply that
he cannot know (only believes) that any one person can resist
the poisonous effects of any substance or perform any act
whatsoever because another person has done so successfully.
For example:  Dr. Winslow, of Boston, could lift a dozen men
at the same time, therefore my patient can do the same thing.
Prof. Sandow can do the somersault with fifty pounds in each
hand, therefore my patient can do the same thing.  Such de-
ductions are false, misleading, and harmful.  Every individual
is entitled to his own opinion and belief, in the defense of
which he will often risk his own life.  That does not prove
his belief to be either true or false;  it only shows his own
firmness and fortitude.  If it is founded on falsehood or
superstition, it is worthless to others who know the facts.

Now it is utterly impossible to have a clear brain, with
virtuous, benevolent, and honest inpulses, surmounting a
diseased and depraved body.  We therefore sadly need school-
houses where able preceptors can teach men, women, and child-
ren "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"
about physiology, toxicology, hygiene, and every other subject
that has any bearing on health;  how to protect and perpetuate
it, and how to transmit it to their children.

Health is a universal need, as that only can modify avarice,
lust, and crime, and ultimately overcome them.  When native
Americans all become sound in body and brain, then, and then
only, can they closely follow the examples of the Christ;
then, and then only, will they practice religion in its pur-
ity;  then, and then only, will justice, harmony, peace, and
prosperity prevail among them.

 


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