Injured Consumer Freya Koss presents her personal testimony to the FDA in 2010
My name is Freya Koss. I am one of the thousands and perhaps millions of consumers who have sustained neurological and other injuries resulting from placement of silver amalgam dental fillings. Unfortunately, the majority of dental patients are unaware that their silver colored fillings contain 50% mercury, a known neurotoxin. I was among 60% of the population who did not know that these commonly used fillings emit a poisonous vapor.
Although long overdue., I am grateful for the opportunity to participate at this public forum and to share my personal experience with the hope that the information imparted by myself, scientists, doctors, lawyers and other injured consumers will be heard and reviewed with an open mind, honesty, fairness and most of all scientific integrity.
Until now, the Food and Drug Administration, by approving liquid elemental mercury as an allegedly safe “Class One” material, by allowing implantation of the second most nonradioactive metal into the body without classification nor proof of safety and/or efficacy, by not mandating consumer labeling of the health risks contained blatantly on the Amalgam Material Safety Data Sheets only visible to the dentist, the FDA has not only NOT protected the public, but has put the most vulnerable population of women and children at risk.
The FDA has allowed the continued implanting of mercury in people’s teeth solely based on the anecdotal claim of its 150 years of use. FDA’s Dr Susan Runner, branch chief of dental devices in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, despite a plethora of scientific evidence supporting the toxicity of amalgam fillings and the availability of nonmercury fillings, has emphatically, on several occasions, told me that the "Benefits of dental amalgam outweigh the risks", while not acknowledging that any risks exist.
It is and was not safe in my mouth or my body. In March of 1998 while leaving the theater I was suddenly struck with double vision causing multiple images and acute sensitivity to light and I was unable to drive home without closing one eye. Over the next nine days, the double vision worsened causing me to keep one eye closed at all times. Alarmed by my condition, my optometrist referred me to a neuro-opthalmologist at a prominent teaching hospital. Although a brain MRI didn’t reveal lesions, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and/or Lupus based on clinical symptoms and a 10,000 antinuclear antibody titer (ANA), elevated rheumatoid factor and liver enzymes. The ANA titer measures the amount and pattern of abnormal antibodies that work against the body's tissues indicating an autoimmune disease.
Advised by the doctor that I would be chronically ill for the rest of my life and that there was no known cause or cure for MS or Lupus, only symptom suppressing medications. I rejected steroids deciding to find out what had caused this condition. MS would have been a lifetime of drugs, pain, suffering and the inability to enjoy life as I had known it. Within a short period of time, relentless research led me to understand that the double vision was most probably the result of mercury poisoning from the removal and replacement of an old amalgam filling just seven days prior to its onset. I was shocked to learn that silver fillings are actually mercury, and that it constantly leached from these fillings being inhaled into the blood stream being distributed into the brain, kidneys, liver, bones and fat tissues. In my case, causing an autoimmune reaction with neuromuscular symptoms customarily seen in MS, Lupus and other autoimmune diseases..
Mercury was playing havoc in my body, and within a weeks my eyelids began to droop, and another neuro-opthalmologist diagnosed me with Myasthenia Gravis, a devastating neuro-muscular autoimmune disease. He suggested nerve conduction and acetylcholine receptor testing. Both proved to be positive, hence, Myasthenia Gravis was my new diagnosis instead of MS or Lupus. Based on extensive scientific research, I was fairly certain that the autoimmune disease and neuromuscular symptoms which included muscle weakness, loss of equilibrium, confusion, short term memory loss, cold extremities (later diagnosed as Raynaud’s disease), skin rashes, neck and shoulder pain, leg cramps and very swollen lymph glands were the result of mercury toxicity. An environmental medical doctor confirmed my suspicions diagnosing me with mercury poisoning from dental amalgam fillings.
All my mercury fillings and crowns over mercury fillings were removed slowly and safely by a mercury-free dentist who had special equipment to protect the patient from mercury vapors during the removal.
In addition I worked with a physician who administered Vitamin C IV drips who prescribed about a 100 vitamin supplements a day including large doses of Vitamin C and B complex, Vit. E and other anti-oxidants, amino acids, fatty acids, Co Q 10, and mercury binding supplements such as MSM. A new diet was prescribed eliminating wheat, gluten, sugar, coffee and alcohol, including organic meat, poultry, eggs and vegetables. Drinking gallons of filtered water was essential to detoxify the body. A huge nutritional and elimination aid was and still is daily homemade vegetable juicing.
Slowly I recovered during a period of 3 to 4 years, however after almost nine years I am still detoxifying the mercury from my body and brain. I still have minor neurological symptoms such as slight double vision, neuropathy, intermittent ataxia and I still have autoimmune titers and elevated rheumatoid factor.
There is no need to use mercury in dentistry considering safe alternatives and the mounting evidence of its harm.
It is incumbent upon the Food and Drug Association to mandate informed consent, to accurately classify mercury amalgams as a Class III implant, and to give warnings for pregnant women and children, as done in several other countries including Canada, Austria, France, Italy and the UK.
The use of mercury in dentistry should be banned forever using the Precautionary Principal – DO NO HARM.