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The News

Published Date: Apr 12, 2013

Mercury pollution inside dental hospitals quite high

recent study reveals high level of ‘indoor mercury pollution’ in the air inside
dental hospitals of the twin cities.

study conducted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in
collaboration with European Environmental Bureau and Zero Mercury Working Group
seeks to monitor mercury emission and release sites in various cities of
Pakistan and assess air quality to protect environment and human health.

the mercury metal and its amalgam are widely used in dental treatment, SDPI
monitoring team visited various dental hospitals in Rawalpindi and Islamabad
and took measurements of indoor and outdoor air for mercury contamination using
special equipment called Lumex Mercury Analyser.

study came up with the findings that indoor air at some dental teaching
hospitals has 8-20 times higher level of mercury pollutants than permissible
limit for human health. However, the outdoor air around testing sites showed
lower level of mercury compared to indoor air.

results were duly shared with the staff and administration of these
institutions with suggestions to immediately adopt safety measures such as
improved cross-air ventilation, installation of exhaust fans and most
importantly a reduction in the use of mercury, its amalgam and waste at the
dental treatment institutions.

study, currently in progress, also includes monitoring of other mercury source
and release sites, which would culminate into a comprehensive report that would
be shared with relevant stakeholders including Ministry of Climate Change,
EPAs, administration of dental treatment institutions, management of
chlor-alkali and light product manufacturing plants for subsequent policy
actions. The report would also be used to raise awareness in public on toxicity
and health hazards of exposure to mercury.