The purpose of this study was to compare the relative cytotoxicity of amalgams and to determine whether their toxicity depends upon composition and aging time, by means of a rapid and sensitive in vitro cell culture test. Zinc-containing amalgams showed higher cytotoxicity than did any other amalgams. High-copper amalgams had the same cytotoxicity as did the low-copper amalgam. The addition of selenium did not reduce the cytotoxicity of amalgam. Moreover, excessive additions of selenium increased the cytotoxicity of amalgam compared with that of a similar selenium-free material. The cytotoxicity of amalgam was decreased with aging time, possibly due to the combined effects of surface oxidation and further amalgamation.
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