Mercury pollution exceeds safety level at dental clinics

STAFF REPORT IBD: Recent study by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) reveals high level of indoor mercury pollution in the air inside various dental hospitals in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

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The  study, conducted in collaboration with European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG), seeks to monitor Mercury emission and release sites in various cities of Pakistan and assess air quality to protect environment and human health.

As the mercury metal and its amalgam are widely used in dental treatment, the SDPI team visited various dental hospitals in the twin cities and took measurements of indoor and outdoor air for mercury contamination using Lumex mercury analyzer.

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The study findings showed that indoor air at some dental teaching hospitals has 8-20 times higher than permissible level of mercury pollutants for human health. However, the outdoor air around testing sites showed lower level of mercury compared to indoor air.

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These results were duly shared with staff and administration of these institutions with suggestions to immediately adopt safety measures such as improved cross-air ventilation, installation of exhaust fans and most importantly a reduction in the use of mercury, its amalgam and waste at the dental treatment institutions.

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