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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Tests for mercury poisoning
Posted by: Susan
Date: October 31, 2003 3:55 AM

I read your article about Dental Amalgam Mercury Poisoning at My question is: How do we test for mercury poisoning in a dead person? My brother-in-law, a dentist, committed suicide last week. He had been depressed for more than nine months. His practice was 95% dental amalgams. He worked in Watsonville, CA., mostly with farm workers who always wanted the cheapest fillings. We can't do the DMPS test and collect urine for six hours, obviously. Would testing brain tissue work? The coroner is going to do blood and urine tests, but after reading your article, it sounds as though those probably won't work.

RE: Tests for mercury poisoning
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: October 31, 2003 4:12 AM

The brain or spinal cord are the places you would find mercury stored in the highest concentration because, of course, these are areas of the body where cell death and replacement are at a bare minimum. The levels will be measured against the population at large, which is not such a great idea since the average person has several dental amalgams. Nevertheless, given the circumstances you mention, I would predict a high level, even in comparison to the high levels in the population at large. Blood or urine would only reveal acute poisoning close to the time of death whereas brain or spinal cord measurements would reveal chronic poisoning and serve as a decent reflection of total body burden.

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