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Contribution of environmental conditions in dental offices of Antioquia to the risk of mercury contamination

Author(s): Jairo A. Ruiz C | Gabriel J. Gómez M | Carlos J. Durán | Víctor M. Villa | Luis A. Zapata | Carlos M. Parra | Jorge I. Pérez R | Rosaura Carmona C

Journal: Revista Facultad Nacional de Salud Pública
ISSN 0120-386X

Volume: 26;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 164;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: ventilation systems | mercury spills | environmental tests | environmental regulation | amalgam scraps

This article is a product from the project “Environmental Management of Dental Amalgam in the State of Antioquia” which was carried out by the following research groups belonging to the University of Antioquia: Science and Biomedical Technology, Precious Materials, and Pirometallurgical and Materials Researches, as well as the private company New Stetic S. A., between February 2005 and February 2007. Objective: to describe the environmental conditions in 30 big dental offices of the State of Antioquia, Colombia. Those dental offices having more than five dental chairs in the same work place were defined as “big” for the purpose of this project. Due to the fact that these dental offices represents 85% of the population of reference, the results described in this article can be consequently considered as is they were derived from a census. The description is made bearing in mind the people who are exposed to the risk of mercury contamination due to their occupation. Materials and method: an observation tool was designed in order to be applied in each dental office. It contained aspects as floor and wall characteristics, ventilation, room temperature, storing place for mercury, elements for handling amalgam scraps, and those activities which deviate from the regular dental service in the same site. Each dental office was visited by a research engineer and an advanced engineering student on a previously defined date. The researchers were trained in advance to collect the information. Results: it was found that some big dental offices have inadequate conditions in their premises for offering their services, and do not have a good handling of the environmental conditions. That’s why immediate actions are mandatory to minimize the risk of mercury contamination.
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