Diagnosis: Colitis

Reality: Chronic Mercury Toxicity

I learned at age 43 that my so-called silver fillings were half mercury (they're only 30% silver).

This startling information was not imparted to me by a dentist nor by a physician. Instead, I learned this essential information from Morley Safer on a 60 Minutes report that aired on December 16, 1990.

To my utter astonishment, Safer also reported that the American Dental Association and the state boards of dentistry terminate the careers of dentists who discuss the dangers of silver-mercury fillings with their patients.

Dr. Jacobson is merely one of many victims of the ADA's campaign to destroy mercury-free dentists and thereby muffle the debate about the hazards of amalgams.

I watched with great interest as Safer interviewed a half dozen people who recovered from arthritis and other diseases after the removal of their amalgams.

what these people had to say fascinated me because their health stories resembled mine. Like me, they had suffered chronic illnesses for a long time that no doctor could cure.

By 1990, by which time I was 43, I had endured three decades of chronic illness, most notably fatigue, low body temperature, dry skin, dry mouth, dry eyes, stiffness, stomach pain, great pressure behind my eyes, and lousy memory.

These symptoms were never so disabling that I had to discontinue working, but by the time the 60 Minutes report on amalgams aired, I was so sick I was close to quitting work as research director for Minnesota Citizens Organized Acting Together.

In 1988, I started getting chronic diarrhea. By the summer of 1990, the diarrhea was pitch black, an indication that I was bleeding deep in the colon. As the cramping and bleeding got worse, my immune system complained more and more.

I lived constantly with flu-like symptoms, including nausea, chills and fevers, a sore throat, night sweats and sensitive skin.

By December 1990, I was waking up from sleep regularly bathed in cold sweat. I constantly coughed up phlegm.

In February 1991, Park Nicollet Medical Center gave me a diagnosis of colitis.

when Safer's report ended, I shut the TV off and pondered what I had seen. I was excited, yet skeptical.

Because I had adopted a very healthy lifestyle in my late twenties, and because I had explored dozens of treatments for my poor health, the hypothesis that the fillings in my head were killing me seemed plausible.

The possibility that I had finally identified the cause of a sickness that the Mayo Clinic and dozens of health care professionals had been unable to identify was exciting.

But, I thought to myself, if this hypothesis were true, why hadn't I heard about it sooner?

How could I, a voracious reader and aggressive seeker of good health, have arrived at age 43 without knowing that I had mercury in my mouth and that it was harmful to some people?

Over the next two months, I attempted to find a dentist who could tell me what to make of the 60 Minutes report.

Two other dentists gave me the same line delivered by an ADA representative on 60 Minutes - "there is no scientific evidence that the amount of mercury that escapes fillings hurts anyone except the extremely small number of people who are allergic to mercury.

My own dentist, at the time, said he didn't know what to make of the 60 Minutes report, but he gave me the number of a mercury-free dentist in Minneapolis.

when I called her, her receptionist said the dentist would not talk to me "because it is illegal in Minnesota for dentists to talk about mercury in fillings."

However, the receptionist gave me a 1-800 number for a dentist in Colorado Springs named Hal Huggins. Dr. Huggins, as I learned later, is, along with Florida dentist Dr. Michael Ziff, [one of..) the leading researcher on the hazards of amalgams in the U.S.

From the Huggins Diagnostic Center (now the Diagnostic Laboratory), I got the name of Dr. Gary Jacobson, a Bloomington dentist who had received training from Dr. Huggins in how to minimize the patient's exposure to the mercury vapor that is released when a drill bites into an amalgam.

Dr. Jacobson removed my fillings in April and May 1991. By July 1991, my colitis was gone.

Over the next 18 months, I endured some strange symptoms, such as severe pain in two root canal4reated teeth, the shedding of the skin on my face three times, and two recurrences of severe stomach pain.

But these symptoms were temporary, and I interpreted them as evidence that my healthier body was getting rid of a lot of mercury and possibly, other toxins.

Today, I still deal with chronic fatigue, light headedness, and a few other very old symptoms, but the colitis has never returned and I have more energy than I have had in 20 years.

The dramatic change in my health after getting my fillings removed made me a lifelong student of the effect of mercury, especially mercury from amalgams, on the human body.

But I would never have devoted a huge part of my life to educating the public about the dangers of amalgams as I do now, if the Minnesota Dental Association and the Attorney General had let Dr. Jacobson practice in peace. -Kip Sullivan 612 823-1459[Editor brackets added]

Kip Sullivan is the research director for Minnesota Citizens Organized Acting Together, an organization that teaches people how to solve problems by working together. Kip has a law degree, and has written numerous articles on tax justice and health care reform for national journals, including the New York Times, Social Policy, and In These Times, and Mm-nesota newspapers. He is the coauthor with Keith Sehnert, M.D. and Dr. Jacobson of "Is Mercury Toxicity an Autoimmune Disorder?" in the October 1995 edition of the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. He is a cofounder of Dental Mercury Awareness.

Extracted from DAMS Newsletter Winter 1996

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