Is Your Dentist Polluting Public Water with Mercury Waste?

Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Environment, Environmental Hazards with 0 Comments

Dr. Mercola  ׀  Feb 24 2014

Did you know that dentist offices are the largest source of mercury in wastewater entering publicly-owned treatment works?

Once there, dental mercury converts to methylmercury, a highly toxic form of mercury known to be hazardous to brain and nervous system function, particularly in fetuses and young children.

Mercury is extremely tenacious once in the air, water, and soil; levels gradually increase over time, as it accumulates. It's no wonder then that contaminated fish and other seafood are the largest dietary source of mercury in the US, courtesy of polluted waterways.

In 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would create a rule requiring dentists who use dental amalgam to conduct best management practices and install amalgam separators.

An amalgam separator is a wastewater treatment device installed at the source, in the dental office, that removes 95-99 percent of the mercury in the wastewater. As originally proposed, EPA said the regulation would be finalized by 2012.1 Such a rule would be a step toward making dentists accountable for future environmental damage caused by their archaic pro-amalgam stance.

Amalgam is primitive polluting pre-Civil War product, one that involves the invasive process of damaging and removing good tooth matter. The alternatives are minimally-invasive, requiring no such draconian process. Plainly, 21st-century dentistry is mercury-free dentistry.

Why Is the EPA's Mercury Rule at a Stand-Still?

It appeared in 2010 that EPA would move forward to draft a rule, but in fact the rule continues to suffer from a long string of delays and excuses for not being brought forth.

At least eleven states—including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Washington, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Oregon, and Michigan—require dentists to use amalgam separators to reduce mercury discharges. There, the system works fine; it does not raise the cost of dental care, but it does lower environmental pollution.

Do pro-mercury dentists in the other 39 states buy separators? Hardly. If they are putting mercury into children's mouths, and calling them silver fillings, why would they act responsibly toward the environment?

That's why we need a ruling by the EPA — to apply to all states and territories.

Even the otherwise pro-mercury American Dental Association (ADA) amended its best management practices (BMPs) in 2007 to endorse amalgam separators as an effective tool to reduce mercury discharges in dental offices in November 2013, the US government became the first country to both sign and accept the United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury, which covers dental amalgam. (The ADA actually fought hard to keep amalgam out of Annex C, the part of the treaty that will be regularly reviewed and can be easily amended, but they didn't succeed. The Convention thus has a path to a full amalgam phase-out, a point well-known to both sides)

Internal documents now reveal that EPA will announce it has no intention of ever proposing its amalgam rule. This abandonment of the public trust has ADA footprints all over it… Thus:

You, and other members of the public, will not have the chance to comment on the EPA's mercury rule

Dentists will not be held accountable for their mercury dumping

Our children will suffer the consequences

Tell EPA to Release Its Mercury Amalgam Rule!

This is unconscionable. Charlie Brown and Consumers for Dental Choice have created a petition demanding the EPA immediately release its mercury amalgam rule for public comment. I hope you will take a moment to sign this petition right now.

Abandoning the long-promised separator rule is a horrid decision. It hands American dentists carte blanche to pollute without accountability, passing the costs onto not only taxpayers to clean it up, but to families whose children are affected by dental mercury in the water (and hence fish), air (via cremation), and soil (and hence, our vegetables).

Keep reading about toxic dental amalgam and EPA negligence


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