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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Dec 11, 2014

Hazardous nature: Use of mercury needs to be curtailed, warn experts

ISLAMABAD: In order to curtail environmental dangers emanating from the
use of chemicals, we need to review and revise the existing curriculum,
including relevant contents, said experts at a seminar on Wednesday.

They emphasised that the use of mercury-based dental amalgams should
either be phased out or prepared through capsulated or mechanised
mixing. Speakers were sharing their thoughts at the ‘Use of Chemicals in
South Asia, Environmental Health Threats and Challenges’ session at the
Sustainable Development Policy Institute’s (SDPI) 17th sustainable
development conference.

“We want the best of the best but do the least of the least for it”,
said Dr Bashir, a speaker, adding we will fail to even get the
mid-quality product with such an approach.

Prof Suleman Tahir of University of Gujrat said one side of the
industry — production — was very beautiful but the waste side was
horrible. He suggested that industrialists should start making good use
of waste material as well instead of discarding it.

The reasons for a frequent use of amalgam in the public sector and
composites in the private sector could be that in the former, dental
treatment is free or on a subsidised rate, said Dr Feroze Ali Kalhoro,
an associate professor at the Institute of Dentistry at LUMHS.

Ram Charitra Sah, the executive director of the Center for Public
Health and Environment Development, Nepal shared outcomes of
mercury-free healthcare services and dentistry campaign in his country.
He said all that was needed was official willingness to end use of
mercury in the public domain.

Qazi Ali Athar, an environmental attorney in Sindh, informed that
there was no provision of environment in the Constitution and the
subject was covered under Article 9 of the Constitution.

Commenting on the session, he said that he thought it would be on use
of chemicals in South Asia and managing waters beyond borders, but
speakers have taken an entire different route here. “Nonetheless, it is
informative,” he added.

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