Autism and Amalgam (Silver) Fillings

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Autism and Mercury Amalgam Fillings

Something to Think About

We know that chronic mercury poisoning, from amalgam silver fillings, has a harmful direct and indirect affect on all aspects of our health. The available evidence shows that chronic mercury poisoning plays an even greater role in autism and I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on it here. Even if you or your family have not been touched by this heartbreaking syndrome I know you will find it worth reading.


Entire books have been written, deservedly so, on this subject but I will just briefly focus on the role mercury, particularly from amalgam fillings, plays in this disturbing problem. Detailed information about how mercury does its damage, both directly and indirectly is found in my book, The Poison in Your Teeth: Mercury Amalgam (Silver) Fillings . . . Hazardous to Your Health! I will also expand on this in an upcoming book about amalgam fillings, and will continue to provide information on my Websites.

I am writing this primarily for women who are planning to have children. My sincere hope is that it will stimulate those women to seriously consider having these toxic fillings safely removed prior to becoming pregnant. I also hope it will stimulate those who are more directly involved with, or have an interest, in autism, at any level, to look at the role mercury (from amalgam fillings) plays in the cause and severity of autism in a new way.

Cause of Autism

No one really knows what causes autism. As such, many potential causes and contributors cannot be ruled out and it could very well be that there are multiple factors involved. But it is a neurological disorder and a majority of the symptoms associated with autism are identical to those expressed by chronic mercury poisoning. I found the similarities extraordinarily revealing  and I absolutely do not believe they are coincidental (to view these similarities, you can go to ( I've also added this information to the end of this article. In fact, after reading this I’m sure you will agree that chronic mercury poisoning cannot be ruled out as either a major contributor to, or a distinct cause of, autism.

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Supporting Evidence

Until recently, most of the available evidence points towards genetics as a major factor in autism. This happens a lot in medicine when the etiology (cause) of a health problem is unknown. Others strongly feel that vaccinations play a big role. Actually, it’s the organic mercury found in thimerosal, which makes up 50 % of the preservative in vaccines, that is thought to be the culprit. While I do believe that genetics, and the acute doses of mercury found in vaccinations are definitely a contributing factor to the cause and severity of autism, they fail to answer many of the key questions about it’s cause.

The incidence of autism has increased so dramatically that blaming genetics will not sufficiently address that theory. Vaccines containing thimerosal cannot explain it away either as there are those who suffer from autism who have never been vaccinated. There are also those who were given the full range of vaccinations and didn’t develop autism. In addition, thimerosal is being phased out of vaccinations and yet the dramatic increase in autism continues.

I’ve no doubt that many factors, known and unknown, contribute to it, as every disease/syndrome can have numerous implicating causes. But I have a more realistic theory that will go much further toward solving the mystery around the cause of autism.

I’m convinced thatchronic mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings is the number one causative factor in autism. The only reason this hasn’t been proven is that no scientific studies have gone back far enough to consider a child's first exposure to mercury.

First Exposure: Where it all Begins

A child’s first exposure to mercury from amalgam fillings* can occur at the moment of conception. Think of that and the implications it holds! At first glance it may sound like a crazy idea and easy to dismiss but it is absolutely true and cannot be discarded. If the mother has mercury amalgam silver fillings in her teeth the fetus will not only be exposed to mercury released from her fillings at the moment of its conception, but throughout the entire gestation period. It is being exposed to elemental mercury from dental fillings before it even has a tooth!

However, the bad news doesn’t end there. If a mother has amalgam fillings while she nurses her baby it will also be exposed to mercury released from her fillings—for as long as the child is being nursed. In addition, most babies in modernized countries will receive 10 vaccinations by age 5. These 10 vaccinations will consist of 33 doses of the vaccines, beginning shortly after birth and continuing through early childhood. Each dose will consist of approximately 237 micrograms of mercury. But for tens of millions of babies, its first vaccination doesn’t appear until it has been exposed to mercury from its mother's amalgam fillings for 9 months!

It also isn’t a stretch to see how devastating it would be to a nursing baby that was exposed to high amounts of mercury as a fetus, to then get such large doses of mercury in vaccinations. It could be possible that without the added effect of the vaccinations a child would not have developed autism. Such is the interconnectedness of this relationship involving early exposure to mercury, in all forms.

If you think about this for a moment, it isn’t difficult to imagine the effect mercury can have on the neurological development of the child before it even gets its first dose of mercury from a vaccination! The most important aspects of neurological development take place during fetal development and it is during this period that the fetus is the most vulnerable to mercury. There are those that believe that it will only take a small amount of mercury atoms at a critcial stage or neurological development to cause or contribute to a birth defect.

In addition, a child will be exposed to mercury from his or her own fillings, as early as 2-3 years of age, but by that time the main symptoms of autism have already appeared. I’m not saying that the mercury from their own fillings couldn’t add to, or make the symptoms worse, but they alone wouldn’t be the primary causative factor. The first symptoms of autism show up earlier than that.

*Of course, the fetus can also receive mercury from other sources that the mother is being exposed to, particularly from mercury contaminated fish. But while those sources cannot be discounted, they are not of the 24/7 exposure to mercury released from the mother's amalgam fillings.

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Why Mercury is so Poisonous to the Fetus and Baby

First, it is vital to know that if the mother is exposed to organic or elemental mercury during pregnancy the fetus and baby will also be exposed to a high percentage of what the mother receives. Mercury easily passes from the mother, via the placenta, into the fetus. Mercury also passes into breast milk and enters the nursing baby through its mother’s milk. Exposure to mercury at this stage of growth is very damaging to neurological development. But what makes it even worse, much worse, is that the fetus has not developed an effective blood brain barrier and its immune system is practically non-existent. In effect, the fetus has no defense against chronic mercury exposure.

As you know, the fetus and the nursing baby are infinitely more susceptible to any toxin, let alone one of the most poisonous toxins on the planet. Admittedly, there are many factors involved when it comes to determining how much mercury a fetus or baby will receive from the mother. I cover these in Chapter 2 in my book, but briefly they include:

  • How many amalgam fillings the mother has;

  • How large they are;

  • How long they were there;

  • How often they were removed and replaced;

  • How the fillings are stimulated;

  • How long they are stimulated; and

  • How often they are stimulated.

Another important factor is whether or not the mother had mercury amalgam fillings removed or placed while she was pregnant or nursing. This is significant, because for people who have amalgam fillings, their greatest exposure to mercury occurs when those fillings are placed or removed.

What it Means!

Once we understand how fetal exposure to mercury can take place, we have no choice but to seriously consider the possibility that chronic mercury poisoning is the major risk factor in the dramatic increase in autism over the past 30 years. This makes sense, because it could very well explain:

  • Why some children who haven’t been vaccinated or haven’t received the full series of vaccinations still develop autism;

  • Why a child who was vaccinated with vaccines that didn’t contain mercury became autistic; and
  • The role of genetics in autism (being a powerful mutagenic, mercury could easily contribute to autism).

Thus, there’s good reason to believe that mercury directly and indirectly plays a major role in causing autism. One also must consider that autism isn’t the only problem that exposure to mercury is known to cause or contribute to, in babies and young children. Many learning disabilities have been attributed to mercury poisoning and the same consideration must be given to mercury released from amalgam fillings to them, as it is to autism.

Yet, in spite of the evidence, diehard pro-amalgam fanatics continue to say that the amount of mercury released from amalgam fillings isn’t great enough to be a health hazard. If you’ve read The Poison in Your Teeth, you know this simply isn’t true. The evidence is clear: chronic mercury poisoning can directly, or indirectly, be the cause or contributor to an extraordinarily large number of symptoms and diseases in adults. Nonetheless, there’s still a debate over whether or not the mercury from amalgam fillings causes health problems for adults. But no sane scientist or health professional would EVER suggest that it’s OK to knowingly subject a fetus, nursing baby, or young child to any amount of mercury—let alone significant amounts of it on a continuous basis.

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Summing it Up

No amount of mercury is safe, for anyone—period! No one who understands how early a person can be exposed to mercury, and how very toxic it is to the fetus and nursing baby, could ever think that mercury is not a major cause of autism and other learning and developmental disorders. Most people have not been made aware of amalgam fillings as being a source of this poison and this ignorance sadly puts the mother, fetus, and baby at great risk.

Thirty years ago, autism showed up in 1 of 10,000 births. Today, some estimates suggest it now appears in 1 out of 250 births. We know that mercury has been implicated in autism from vaccinations. We know that it cannot be excluded as a contributing cause of autism. Knowing that, under certain conditions, amalgam fillings may well be the source of significant mercury exposure at a critically important stage of neurological development should provide an objective person significant reason to ponder.  

Neither I nor anyone else can tell you how much mercury you’re receiving from your fillings. Nor can anyone know how much mercury enters the fetus, or how much short- and long-term damage it will do. But we do know one unalterable fact: no amount of mercury is safe for you or your child. Even if you have only a few amalgam fillings, is it worth the risk to unnecessarily exposing your child to mercury? I personally don’t think so, especially since that risk can so easily be eliminated.

Of course I can’t speak for you, but if I were a mother with amalgam fillings and I was planning a family I would not be willing to take the risk of exposing my child to any amount of mercury, regardless of the source.  It has been scientifically proven that mercury vapor is released from amalgam fillings, enters the body and can travel to the fetus through the placenta. We know it's a neurotoxin, mutagenic, and has been proven to be a cause and contributor to learning disabilities and developmental disorders. I don't know how much more we actually need to know about how this poison damages the body. And if I were a soon to be mother, I certainly wouldn't wait until someone came up with a scientific study that conclusively proved that mercury is one of the primary causes of autism before I safely removed and replaced my amalgam fillings.


This was just a brief overview of this critically important subject, but it is my hope that you are now more informed than before. I can assure you, it is a lot easier to remove these fillings and prevent the side-effects of chronic mercury poisoning than to have to treat any mercury related health problems later. This includes autism. If you are planning a family I can only offer you two suggestions. The first is to have your mercury amalgam fillings safely removed and replaced with a non-toxic material, as many days prior to conception as possible. The second is to participate in a mercury detoxification program as soon as possible prior to becoming pregnant.

There are those who don’t believe you should detoxify from mercury if you are pregnant or nursing. There are many opinions as to why but as yet no consensus. I do believe that as long as you are no longer being exposed to mercury from your fillings or mercury contaminated fish, you will have dramatically decreased the risk of mercury poisoning to the fetus and nursing baby. Also, even though there still could very well be mercury stored in your body, once it has attached itself to a protein or enzyme, etc., it doesn’t readily move around; again minimizing the risk to the child. But an overly aggressive detoxification program during pregnancy or nursing could cause some mercury to move around, possibly exposing the fetus or baby. But these are just educated guesses and no one knows with certainty if that is the case.

I believe the final decision is between you and your health professional. I would certainly encourage the use of vitamins and nutritional supplements necessary to support a healthy life and protect you from the added stress on the system from a pregnancy.

But I would avoid mercury mobilizers, such as cilantro, and never use a pharmaceutical chelator during this period. However, I personally would not have a problem with any of the vitamin supplements recommended in my program that the body needs for health and either manufactures or must obtain from outside sources.

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If You have an Autistic Child 

As you well know, if you have an autistic child there are no simple answers or suggestions. But I have included sources of information that could be of help to you in dealing with what you and your child are faced with. I have found the information from Dr. Amy Holmes to be very impressive and informative and I would highly recommend her, and her detoxification program, to anyone who is raising an autistic child. There are other sources as well and I’ll let you be the judge of their value.

Video Proof that Mercury Vapor is Released from Amalgam Fillings

For those of you who want visual proof that mercury vapor is released from amalgam fillings I encourage you to view my YouTube Video, Mercury: The Poison in Your Teeth. This amazing video clearly demonstrates that not only is mercury vapor released from amalgams but also quantitatively demonstrates the actual amount of mercury released from an amalgam by a common means of stimulation, tooth brushing.

As you'll see in the Video, brushing a medium sized amalgam filling will release more mercury vapor than allowed by governmental regulatory agencies at the workplace! The Video also compares the amount of mercury vapor released to other forms of stimulation, by the patient and at the dental office - and what you can do about it!

There are many scientific studies that prove this, but it's one thing to read about it and yet another to actually see how much mercury vapor being released from an amalgam filling by an EPA approved mercury vapor analyzer. The short video also offers evidence of the toxicity of mercury and is well worth the few minutes of your time it takes to view my YouTube Video: Mercury: The Poison in Your Teeth. Don't forget to tell your friends and family about this video - or a dentist you'd like to help educate about this subject. You can also access the video by searching YouTube for either Tom McGuire, DDS or The Poison in Your Teeth.

Resources Dr. Amy Holmes’s website that brilliantly deals with chelating mercury from the autistic child. Important information about alternative therapies for treating children with developmental delays and other neurometabolic conditions and disorders. A great source of information about all aspects of autism by Sallie Bernard and others. One of the best sources of I’ve found.

Of course there are more websites with information about autism than those I’ve listed above, but these are the ones I would begin with. They are not in any particular order of importance so please don’t infer anything from the order I’ve placed them. I’d also like to suggest that you go to these sites sooner than later and print any information from them that you feel is important. Although these sites have been around for some time, websites do come and go and this will insure that you will have the information you want from them.

I've included a chart compiled by Sallie Bernard, and others, that supports my belief that chronic mercury poisoning could well play a significant role in autism and other learning, mental, and developmental disorders. I'd like to express my appreciation to Sallie and the others for producing her chart and for their wonderful insights about the cause of autism. I encourage you to visit their website,, to learn more about their view of this important subject.

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Autism Mimics The Exact Same Symptoms As Mercury Poisoning!


Sallie Bernard*  
Albert Enayati, B.S., Ch.E., M.S.M.E.**  
Heidi Roger  
Teresa Binstock  
Lyn Redwood, R.N., M.S.N., C.R.N.P.  
Woody McGinnis, M.D.


  ã2000 by ARC Research  
14 Commerce Drive  
Cranford, NJ 07016  
April 3, 2000

Summary Comparison of Characteristics of Autism & Mercury Poisoning


Mercury Poisoning      


Psychiatric Disturbances 

Social deficits, shyness, social withdrawal

Social deficits, social withdrawal, shyness


Depression, mood swings; mask face

Depressive traits, mood swings; flat affect





Schizoid tendencies, OCD traits

Schizophrenic & OCD traits; repetitiveness


Lacks eye contact, hesitant to engage others

Lack of eye contact, avoids conversation


Irrational fears

Irrational fears


Irritability, aggression, temper tantrums

Irritability, aggression, temper tantrums


Impaired face recognition

Impaired face recognition




Speech, Language, Hearing Deficits

Loss of speech, failure to develop speech

Delayed language, failure to develop speech


Dysarthria; articulation problems

Dysarthria; articulation problems


Speech comprehension deficits

Speech comprehension deficits


Verbalizing & word retrieval problems

Echolalia; word use & pragmatic errors


Sound sensitivity

Sound sensitivity


Hearing loss; deafness in very high doses

Mild to profound hearing loss


Poor performance on language IQ tests

Poor performance on verbal IQ tests




Sensory Abnormalities

Abnormal sensation in mouth & extremities

Abnormal sensation in mouth & extremities


Sound sensitivity

Sound sensitivity


Abnormal touch sensations; touch aversion

Abnormal touch sensations; touch aversion


Vestibular abnormalities

Vestibular abnormalities




Motor Disorders

Involuntary jerking movements - arm flapping, ankle jerks, myoclonal jerks, choreiform movements, circling, rocking

Stereotyped movements - arm flapping, jumping, circling, spinning, rocking; myoclonal jerks; choreiform movements


Deficits in eye-hand coordination; limb apraxia; intention tremors

Poor eye-hand coordination; limb apraxia; problems with intentional movements


Gait impairment; ataxia – from incoordination & clumsiness to inability to walk, stand, or sit; loss of motor control

Abnormal gait and posture, clumsiness and incoordination; difficulties sitting, lying, crawling, and walking


Difficulty in chewing or swallowing

Difficulty chewing or swallowing


Unusual postures

Unusual postures




Cognitive Impairments

Borderline intelligence, mental retardation - some cases reversible

Borderline intelligence, mental retardation - sometimes "recovered"


Poor concentration, attention, response inhibition

Poor concentration, attention, shifting attention


Uneven performance on IQ subtests

Uneven performance on IQ subtests


Verbal IQ higher than performance IQ

Verbal IQ higher than performance IQ


Poor short term, verbal, & auditory memory

Poor short term, auditory & verbal memory


Poor visual and perceptual motor skills,

impairment in simple reaction time

Poor visual and perceptual motor skills, lower performance on timed tests


Difficulty carrying out complex commands

Difficulty carrying out multiple commands


Alexia (inability to comprehend the meaning of written words)

Hyperlexia (ability to decode words while lacking word comprehension)


Deficits in understanding abstract ideas & symbolism;  degeneration of higher mental powers

Deficits in abstract thinking & symbolism, understanding other’s mental states, sequencing, planning & organizing



Unusual Behaviors                                                                                        

 Stereotyped sniffing (rats)

   Stereotyped, repetitive behaviors


ADHD traits

ADHD traits


Agitation, unprovoked crying, grimacing, staring spells

Agitation, unprovoked crying, grimacing, staring spells


Sleep difficulties

Sleep difficulties


Eating disorders, feeding problems

Eating disorders, feeding problems


Self injurious behavior, e.g. head banging

Self injurious behavior, e.g. head banging




Visual Impairments

Poor eye contact, impaired visual fixation

Poor eye contact, problems in joint attention


“Visual impairments,” blindness, near-sightedness, decreased visual acuity

“Visual impairments”; inaccurate/slow saccades; decreased rod functioning


Light sensitivity, photophobia

Over-sensitivity to light


Blurred or hazy vision

Blurred vision


Constricted visual fields

Not described




Physical Disturbances

Increase in cerebral palsy; hyper- or hypo-tonia; abnormal reflexes; decreased muscle strength, especially upper body; incontinence; problems chewing, swallowing, salivating

Increase in cerebral palsy; hyper- or hypotonia; decreased muscle strength, especially upper body; incontinence; problems chewing and swallowing


Rashes, dermatitis/dry skin, itching; burning

Rashes, dermatitis, eczema, itching


Autonomic disturbance:  excessive sweating, poor circulation, elevated heart rate

Autonomic disturbance:  unusual sweating, poor circulation, elevated heart rate




Gastro-intestinal Disturbances

Gastroenteritis, diarrhea; abdominal pain, constipation, “colitis”

Diarrhea, constipation, gaseousness, abdominal discomfort, colitis


Anorexia, weight loss, nausea, poor appetite

Anorexia; feeding problems/vomiting


Lesions of ileum & colon; increases gut permeability

Leaky gut syndrome


Inhibits dipeptidyl peptidase IV, which cleaves casomorphin

Inadequate endopeptidase enzymes needed for breakdown of casein & gluten




Abnormal Biochemistry

Ties up -SH groups; blocks sulfate transporter in intestines, kidneys

Low sulfate levels


Has special affinity for purines & pyrimidines

Purine & pyrimidine metabolism errors lead to autistic features


Reduces availability of glutathione, needed in cells & liver to detoxify heavy metals

Low levels of glutathione; decreased ability of liver to detoxify heavy metals


Causes significant reduction in  glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase

Abnormal glutathione peroxidase activities in erythrocytes


Disrupts mitochondrial activities, especially in


Mitochondrial dysfunction, especially in brain




Immune Dysfunction

Sensitivity due to allergic or autoimmune reactions; sensitive individuals more likely to have allergies, asthma, autoimmune-like symptoms, especially rheumatoid-like ones

More likely to have allergies and asthma; familial presence of autoimmune diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis; IgA deficiencies


Can produce an immune response in CNS

On-going immune response in CNS


Causes brain/MBP autoantibodies 

Brain/MBP autoantibodies present


Causes overproduction of Th2 subset; kills/inhibits lymphocytes, T-cells, and monocytes; decreases NK T-cell activity; induces or suppresses IFNg &


Skewed immune-cell subset in the Th2 direction; decreased responses to T-cell mitogens; reduced NK T-cell function; increased IFNg & IL-12


CNS Structural Pathology                                                

Selectively targets brain areas unable to detoxify

or reduce Hg-induced oxidative stress

Specific areas of brain pathology; many functions spared


Damage to Purkinje and granular cells

Damage to Purkinje and granular cells


Accummulates in amygdala and hippocampus

Pathology in amygdala and hippocampus


Causes abnormal neuronal cytoarchitecture; disrupts neuronal migration & cell division;

reduces NCAMs

Neuronal disorganization; increased neuronal cell replication, increased glial cells; depressed expression of NCAMs


Progressive microcephaly

Progressive microcephaly and macrocephaly


Brain stem defects in some cases

Brain stem defects in some cases




Abnormalities in Neuro-chemistry

Prevents presynaptic serotonin release & inhibits serotonin transport; causes calcium disruptions

Decreased serotonin synthesis in children;  abnormal calcium metabolism


Alters dopamine systems; peroxidine deficiency in rats resembles mercurialism in humans

Possibly high or low dopamine levels; positive response to peroxidine (lowers dopamine levels)


Elevates epinephrine & norepinephrine levels by blocking enzyme that degrades epinephrine

Elevated norepinephrine and epinephrine


Elevates glutamate

Elevated glutamate and aspartate


Leads to cortical acetylcholine deficiency; increases muscarinic receptor density in

hippocampus & cerebellum

Cortical acetylcholine deficiency; reduced muscarinic receptor binding in hippocampus


Causes demyelating neuropathy

Demyelation in brain




EEG Abnormalities Epilepsy

Causes abnormal EEGs, epileptiform activity

Abnormal EEGs, epileptiform activity


Causes seizures, convulsions

Seizures; epilepsy


Causes subtle, low amplitude seizure activity

Subtle, low amplitude seizure activities





Effects more males than females

Male:female ratio estimated at 4:1


At low doses, only affects those genetically susceptible

High heritability - concordance for MZ twins is 90%


First added to childhood vaccines in 1930s

First "discovered" among children born in 1930s


Exposure levels steadily increased since 1930s

with rate of vaccination, number of vaccines

Prevalence of autism has steadily increased from 1 in 2000 (1940s) to 1 in 500 (1990s)


Exposure occurs at 0 - 15 months; clinical silent stage means symptom emergence delayed; symptoms emerge gradually, starting with movement & sensation

Symptoms emerge from 4 months to 2 years old; symptoms emerge gradually, starting with movement & sensation

Given the information in this article, and the excellent chart produced by Sallie Bernard, et al, I suggest it is impossible not to include chronic mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings as a significant factor in autism.

In health,


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About Dr. Tom

Tom McGuire, DDS, is a leading authority on mercury detoxification, mercury amalgam fillings, chronic mercury poisoning and holistic dental wellness. Dr. McGuire is president of the Dental Wellness Institute, founder of the International Association of Mercury Free Dentists (IAMFD) and author of a number of books on holistic dental wellness, including:

To Learn more about Dr. Tom McGuire .

Click Here to Visit his Website. He is available for consultations regarding mercury detoxification, and other oral health issues. For scheduling call toll free at 800-335-7755. You can email Dr. Tom by Clicking Here.

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