Workplace Hazards Associated with Amalgam

Dental professionals face the hazards of amalgam’s mercury everyday in their workplace, most of them with no protection against mercury exposure....

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Workplace mercury exposure

Dental professionals – including dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental office staff – can be exposed to mercury in their workplace, both directly and indirectly:

  • Direct exposure: Dental professionals can come into direct contact with amalgam’s mercury during the preparation, placement, and removal of amalgam fillings. Accidental mercury spills can also lead to direct exposure.

  • Indirect mercury exposure: Dental professionals can also encounter mercury indirectly in their work environment. Researchers have found high levels of mercury in the air of dental offices that use amalgam. This mercury can also contaminate carpeting and pipes.

Workplace health problems

This exposure to mercury in the workplace would explain....

  • Higher mercury levels in dental professionals: Dental workers have higher levels of mercury in their bodies than the general population.

  • More health problems for dental professionals: Dentists report or seek treatment for more health problems – including neurological, neuropsychological, respiratory, cardiac, and kidney disorders – than the general population.

  • Reproductive problems for female dental professionals: : Female dental professionals of child-bearing age who are exposed to amalgam in the workplace experience more reproductive problems than unexposed women.

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