Karen Palmer, Mercury Poisoned Dental Assistant- 2006 FDA Testimony

karen-palmerKaren Palmer, Poisoned Dental Assistant

 As a dental assistant, I handled mercury every day for years, until two years ago when I was diagnosed with heavy metal mercury poisoning. I am disabled and can no longer work due to the neurological damage from occupational exposure to mercury. I am still numb on the entire left side of my body. What a false sense of security all of those years having been told that wearing a paper mask would protect me from mercury vapors! After the fact, I had to learn on my own about the toxicity of mercury inhalation and the health risks from working with amalgam fillings.

I should have been informed that there were occupational dangers and should have been instructed as to how I could protect myself.

Where and when were all of the continuing education courses to warn us of the dangers? My former boss is still in denial of all that has happened to me and continues to place amalgam every day. He thinks I’ve been misdiagnosed and still haven’t found the real cause to all of my problems. He worships the ADA and thinks he is protected from any backlash for lawsuits because he’s a longstanding member and they maintain it’s safe unless you are allergic. Little does he know that the ADA threw the dentists to the dogs when they claimed in the Tolhurst vs. ADA lawsuit, that they weren’t responsible for a consumer’s injuries from amalgam fillings because it was the dentist who mixed them, not the ADA.

What I have is no allergy. It is criminal that the FDA and ADA have been permitted to cover up and mislead the public and those in the dental profession. How many more thousands of people have to suffer before mercury is banned from dental use? Although the FDA parrots the Center for Disease Control’s claim that only 50 adverse reports have been received since August 2006,  the FDA has received more than 2,000 public submissions relating illnesses associated with mercury fillings.

It is felonious that people are not given accurate information so that they are able to make informed decisions about their dental care.

Mandatory informed consent should be a law in every state, so that people can protect themselves and their children.

As a Pennsylvania resident, I can tell you that it has been one of the worst states in offering information to those working in the field and to consumers. I understand however, that Representative Daylin Leach has written a draft proposal for a bill which will call for mandated informed consent.

As crazy as it sounds, Oprah Winfrey is more successive and effective in reaching more than 40 million viewers about issues which affect the quality of life of every American. How is it that our federal government has been permitted to keep this from public knowledge?

I wrote to the FDA on August 21, 2006 and have received no response.


I was diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity for mercury and lead in May of ’03. After a full year of testing, I was told at one point that I had MS, or multiple sclerosis], because of the sensory disturbances.

Neurotoxicity and toxic neuropathy is no allergy as the ADA would like us to believe. I gave the best years of my life in a profession as a dental assistant, taking all of the precautions with gloves and masks and glasses, only to learn that the mercury vapor goes right through it.

Optimal ventilation is so key, or so I’ve come to learn, not minimal, which is what most offices have.

Patients should be given the information on the MSDS sheets [Materials Safety Data Sheets]. The doctors that still insist on using amalgam silver mercury fillings because the ADA still says it’s safe are causing great harm to themselves, staff and patients.

Many months of chelation have lowered my toxic levels, thank God, and I am so encouraged. All of the paresthesia, neuropathy, and the chronic fatigue I continue to endure. What is it going to take for all involved to wake up?

Nobody wants to be held accountable for all of the damage that has been done and allowed to occur and continues to go on. I had silver fillings in my teeth. My former employer said my levels didn’t come from my mouth. Afraid of backlash, he still continues to place the mercury restorations.

Do you see and hear how huge of a crisis this is at hand? People and the environment are being ruined. Please make it stop, starting with the ADA!

There are other safer materials to use, but not as easy to place and not as quick, and [they are] more costly. The dental insurance companies –

The insurance companies will only pay for the least expensive fillngs and so the doctors are, in effect, letting the insurance [companies] dictate treatment, which they claim to never do.  It’s no wonder this can of worms stays unopened to the public.

The deception that is allowed to continue is nothing short of criminal. Mercury is a neurotoxin, a brain poison that does not belong in any form, whether if be ethyl, methyl, organic or inorganic. There is no safe amount in the human body, or in the fish that we can no longer eat, or in the vaccines that are supposed to protect us.


It’s in the air. It’s in the water. It’s in the ground. Placing mercury directly into the mouth two inches from the brain is ludicrous beyond reason.  The ADA argument that it’s safe because it’s been used for more than 100 years holds no ground. Its an adage proven to be scientifically untrue.

Karen Palmer
Dental Assistant

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