Occupational Exposure to Elemental Mercury in Odontology/Dentistry
Mercury is recognized as harmful to human health and the environment. It is highly toxic to humans and may harm vital organ systems, including the nervous, digestive, respiratory, renal, and immune systems. As a result, international efforts are underway to eliminate the use of products with intentionally added mercury. This report reviews the literature, describes the use of mercury in odontology, and raises issues of concern for human health. In odontology and dental clinics,1 mercury may be found in dental amalgam and measuring devices such as thermometers and blood pressure cuffs (sphygmomanometers, tensiometers).This report recommends developing a program to minimize the use of mercury, lessen the potential for exposure, and control mercury waste. This will benefit dental workers by decreasing their exposure to this toxic material and will reduce environmental impacts from mercury in solid waste, in the air, and in wastewater.
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