Mercury poisoning dentistry: high-level indoor air mercury contamination at selected dental sites

Mahmood A. Khwaja 1  and Maryam Shabbir Abbasi 1
  • 1 Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad, Pakistan
Mahmood A. Khwaja and Maryam Shabbir Abbasi

Abstract

Mercury (Hg), also known as quick silver, is an essential constituent of dental amalgam. It is a toxic substance of global concern. Children are more at risk from mercury poisoning which affects their neurological development and brain. In the past, a number of studies at dental sites in many countries have been carried out and reported. The present report briefly describes and discusses our recent investigations carried out at 34 dental sites (teaching institutions, hospitals and private clinics) in Pakistan. It is evident from the data that at many sites the indoor mercury vapor levels exceed far above the permissible limit recommended for safe physical and mental health. At these sites, public in general and the medical, paramedical staff and vulnerable population in particular, are at most serious risk to health resulting from exposure to toxic and hazardous mercury. To minimize such risk, some of the recommendations are, best in-house environmental practices for occupational health and safety, mercury contaminated waste reduction at source, mercury specific legislation and ratification of Minamata convention on mercury by Pakistan and other world governments at the earliest time possible

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