Revista Peruana de Medicina Experimental y Salud Pública (2014-12-01)

Responsible management of dental amalgam mercury: a review of its impact on health

  • Christhian Méndez-Visag

DOI
https://doi.org/10.17843/rpmesp.2014.314.126
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 31, no. 4

Abstract

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This review discusses the implications of dental amalgam used in dentistry. We first focus on the status of the fetus, which is the most vulnerable to mercury exposure from maternal dental amalgams because of the chronic form and potential magnitude of exposure. And second, our work covers the awareness of environmental repercussions involved with continued use of this restorative material, a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemical, when best management practices (BMPs) of mercury from the WHO and the American Dental Association are not followed. Although the use of dental amalgam is in decline in the public and private sectors, it is necessary that the measures disseminated by the WHO on BMPs are implemented by professional dentists and taught by academic institutions that may continue to teach its use. It is also essential to promote from the undergraduate level the ethical values and responsibility to health and the environment, considering that the poor handling of mercury contributes to the global burden of environmental mercury. Finally, the findings support important modifications in the clinical field, the principle of precaution, and logistical aspects of the profession in the process of reducing and eventually eliminating the use of mercury.

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