Autoimmune disease and metal exposure: what you need to know

Championsgate, Fla — Scientific research is repeatedly demonstrating that metal exposure can be a contributing factor to autoimmune disease, warns the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT). Last week, the global network of dentists, health professionals, and scientists released a new article entitled “Autoimmune Diseases and Metal Implants and Devices” to raise professional and public awareness about the crucial subject. In particular, the article highlights decades of scientific research linking autoimmune disease to metals used in dentistry and medicine, including metals in dental fillings, dental implants, and other medical implants and devices.

“Causes of autoimmune disease have been scientifically associated with a combination of


Medical and dental implants and devices containing metal have been scientifically associated with autoimmune diseases. (PRNewsfoto/IAOMT)

genetic circumstances and exposure to metals or to infectious agents, mold, or other environmental factors,” explains John Kall, DMD, co-author of the new article. “The IAOMT is concerned that autoimmune diseases are on the rise and so is unnecessary exposure to metals used in dentistry and medicine, even though biocompatible alternatives are available.”

The IAOMT article features an abridged list of scientific literature documenting cases where safe removal of offending metal implants or devices resulted in recovery or health improvements in patients with conditions such as autoimmune thyroiditis, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Sjögren’s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, and progressive muscular atrophy (a variant of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [Lou Gehrig’s Disease]. Also provided is an abridged table of metals currently used in medicine and dentistry, which include aluminum, chromium, cobalt, copper, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, tin, titanium, and many more, including the multiple metals in stainless steel.

“In addition to reporting any rashes from jewelry, watches, or other metal exposures, it is essential for each patient to recognize the gamut of symptoms that can be related to the presence of a metal implant or device in their body,” Dr. Kall cautions. “It is also vital for patients to remember that sensitization to metal can develop years after an implant or device has been placed and that adverse effects can occur with or without the sign of a rash or eruption on the skin or in the mouth.”

The need for informed consumer consent about metal-containing devices and implants has also been emphasized by the IAOMT, as many consumers are unaware of the metals being placed into their bodies. This is a pertinent issue, as earlier this month, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricted the sale and distribution of Essure, a permanent contraception device containing nickel, titanium, silver-tin, and other metals, to “protect women and to require that patients receive risk information.”

The IAOMT aims to educate patients, professionals, and policymakers so safer dental and medical treatments can be implemented and the health of the public and environment can be improved. The non-profit group has been researching the biocompatibility of dental products since it was founded in 1984. “Biocompatibility” simply means implants and devices that are best suited for the patient based on safety and personal healthcare needs.

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