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Health Care Research Collaborative Report Studies Human, Environmental Health Impacts

Substituting mercury with alternative materials for dental fillings has less negative impact on human health and the environment, according to a new report by the Health Care Research Collaborative. The Research Collaborative released “Mercury in Dental Amalgam and Resin-Based Alternatives: A Comparative Health Risk Evaluation,” which compares the health and environmental impacts of mercury dental amalgam with those of the alternatives currently available in the United States. 

The report found that the known impacts of mercury on human health and the global environment outweigh the known impacts of resin composites and glass ionomer fillings. The report also found that health systems in several countries have successfully substituted mercury with these alternatives with little or no negative impacts on oral health.

Based on this evidence, the report recommends “the ultimate goal of a phase-out of virtually all usage of dental mercury,” with allowance for exceptions due to clinical necessity, while at the same time suggesting that “dental personnel handling these [composite] materials should take proper exposure control measures due the demonstrated genotoxicity and allergenicity of some of these compounds.”

The report, titled, Mercury in Dental Amalgam  and Resin-Based Alternatives: A Comparative Health Risk Evaluationcan be found at http://www.noharm.org/us_canada/reports/2012/jun/rep2012-06-11.php.

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