Dental Practices Responsible for Mercury Pollution?

New Study Finds High Levels of Mercury in Dental Waste Water

Reuters Health recently wrote about a small study that suggests dental offices may be responsible for significant environmental mercury pollution. “We found the highest levels of methyl mercury ever reported in any environmental water sample,” said researcher Dr. Karl J. Rockne.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, examined the wastewater from two small dental offices and found high levels of methylated mercury. The researchers estimate US dental practices may contribute 11 pounds of methylated mercury each year to the environment.

Though methylated mercury is a particularly dangerous form, it’s important to realize that dentists are far from the most egregious polluters out there. Coal-fired power plants are estimated to emit about 50 tons of mercury each year. The majority of mercury pollution today is believed to be caused by batteries and other electrical devices.

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