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Toxicology. 2001 Jun 21;163(2-3):115-26.

Release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings in pregnant rats and distribution of mercury in maternal and fetal tissues.

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Department of Dental Material Science, School of Dentistry, Aichi-Gakuin University, 1-100 Kusumoto-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8650, Japan.


Mercury vapor released from a single amalgam restoration in pregnant rats and mercury concentrations in maternal and fetal rat tissues were studied. Dental treatment was given on day 2 of pregnancy. Mercury concentration in air sample drawn from the metabolism chamber with the rat was measured serially for 24 h on days 2, 8 and 15 of pregnancy. An average mercury concentration in the air samples from the rats given amalgam restorations was 678.6+/-167.5 ng/day on day 2. The average mercury concentration in the air samples tended to decline as time elapsed but a marked amount (423.2+/-121.5 ng/day) was observed even on day 15. The amount of mercury in the air samples increased 7--20-fold after chewing. The placement of the single amalgam restoration (3.8--5.5 mg in weight) increased the levels of mercury approximately three to 6 times in the maternal brain, liver, lung, placenta and 20 times in the kidneys. The highest mercury concentration among fetal organs was found in the liver, followed by the kidneys and brain. Mercury concentrations in maternal organs and fetal liver were significantly higher than those of the controls, and concentrations in maternal whole blood, erythrocytes and plasma, and in fetal whole blood were also significantly higher. Mercury concentrations in the fetal brain, liver, kidneys and whole blood were lower than those of the maternal tissues.

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