The expired air of a group of 48 persons, 40 with and eight without dental amalgam restorations, was analyzed for its mercury content before and after chewing. Expired air samples were collected in polyethylene bags, and a known quantity of each was pumped into the mercury detector for measurement. The results showed that examined subjects with dental amalgams had higher pre-chewing mercury levels in their expired air than those without amalgams. After chewing, these levels were increased an average of 15.6-fold in the former and remained unchanged in the latter group. It was concluded that in situ dental amalgams can increase the level of mercury in expired air.
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