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Protecting You and Our Environment

Fifteen years ago I became one of the first dental practices to install digital x-ray system in our office. I am still excited because every x-ray we take has 80-90 per cent less radiation than traditional dental x-rays. Using the digital system also eliminates the dental developing and fixing chemicals. By eliminating them none of us are exposed to these toxic chemicals and do not have to breath them in. It also eliminates disposing of them into our environment. We also have filters that remove mercury and other chemicals from the air while we work. We have specific air filters to remove mercury and a filter on the waste line that also traps the old amalgam that is removed from the tooth. We place any mercury amalgam scrap into a sealed container for disposal by a hazardous waste company. Our lead apron recently wore out and we wanted to replace it. We also wanted to dispose of it safely as lead is another big concern in the environment. My assistants, Xia and Katlyn spent hours searching for a safe place to take it for disposal.

We have also reduced the use of chemicals in our office by using melaluca which is natural and also an approved disinfectant. We even filter our office water supply with reverse osmosis and carbon block filters to provide pure water for drinking and for use in the dental water we use for procedures and for the laser.

I came across the following information about mercury and the environment from Dr Mercola. Dr Mercola is a ostheopathic physician and a health advocate and he has many interesting articles on his web site. He sends out a free daily health newsletter. This is from his newsletter:

(You can read more here)

Coal Plants and Dentists May be Accelerating Wildlife Extinctions
Coal generates 54 percent of the electricity in the United States and is the single largest cause of air pollution. Coal fired power plants are also the number one source of environmental mercury pollution. Mercury is extremely tenacious once in the air, water and soil, and levels gradually increase over time, as it accumulates.

Each coal plant discharges an average of 170 pounds of mercury into the air each year, along with other pollutants. There are about 600 coal plants in the United States. So, if you do the math, you will discover that coal plants in the U.S. are releasing about 51 TONS of mercury into the environment each year. Just one gram of mercury can make the fish in a 20-acre lake unfit for consumption for a year.

A study by Island Restoration Network found dangerous mercury levels in 68 percent of swordfish, high enough to cause harm to wildlife. Recent evidence indicates mercury is now present in all fish. Other studies have demonstrated high levels of mercury in sensitive and endangered species across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, indicating that mercury pollution may be a significant factor in species population reduction.

The second largest mercury polluters in this country are dental practices. As a result of their continued use of mercury amalgam fillings, another 29.7 tons of mercury is discharged into the air, water and soil each year from installation and removal of amalgams.

Don’t let the “cheap” price of these fillings fool you. When environmental cleanup costs are included, dental amalgams are actually the most expensive type of dental fillings on the market. Besides its toxic effects to wildlife, mercury is terribly harmful to humans as well.

Another source of mercury in the environment is cremation. When a body is cremated, any amalgam fillings in the person’s mouth are vaporized into the air and then is put forth into our environment.

We try to be very conscience of our environment and how we can best serve our patients. We make efforts in any way that we can to eliminate harmful chemicals from our office, as well as safe handling and disposal of metal’s that are harmful to our environment.

Stay well!

Richard Stickney

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