Mercury and dental care

Did you know that a teaspoon of mercury is enough to poison a medium-sized Swedish lake? Here you can read more about mercury in dentistry.

I do not use amalgam anymore. How can it be an environmental problem?
It is estimated that about 75 percent of the Swedish population still have amalgam fillings. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that the Swedes have 40 tonnes of mercury in their teeth.

We have amalgam separators, doesn’t that stop the emission of mercury?
No, despite demands for amalgam separators there are very few dental clinics that have zero emissions of mercury. The finest amalgam particles is not captured by separators. Emissions of mercury from dental clinics has declined since amalgam was banned as dental filling material in 2009, but the remaining emissions are not negligible.

Doesn’t the mercury that enters the sewers sink to the bottom and stay there?
No, there is a risk that mercury inside the pipes will leak into the sewage. The risk of mercury stored in the pipes is particularly high in clinics where dental was conducted before the requirement of amalgam separation or in clinics with a poorer function than the current amalgam separators.

Why is mercury dangerous to the environment?
Half of dental amalgam is mercury. When the mercury is released into the environment it can easily be converted to methylmercury, which is the most dangerous form of mercury. It is extremely toxic and affects fetal development and may affect the central nervous system in humans. Mercury can also damage the muscles, kidneys and immune system.

It is also important to continue to reduce the amount of mercury in the wastewater treatment plant sludge to be able to use  the sludge to agricultural land.

Uppdaterad 3 februari, 2017