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Jamila Achakzai

The News

Published Date: Nov 4, 2013

Polyclinic bans mercury fillings over health hazards

Polyclinic has become the country’s first hospital to stop its dentists from using mercury fillings over health hazards.

to Dr Pakiza Hyder, who heads Polyclinic’s dental surgery department, the ban is meant to minimise the mercury-related risks to the people’s health.

Mercury is one of the most poisonous substances and therefore, many countries, mostly the western ones, have banned it from fillings.

In Pakistan, no such restriction is in place with both government and private healthcare facilities giving mercury fillings to visitors without knowing that these fillings could cause poisoning, exhaustion, emotional disturbance and high blood pressure.

However, Polyclinic acting on its own has banned the use of mercury fillings on the premises.

Pakiza told this correspondent on Sunday that Polyclinic was the first hospital in the country to impose such a ban as part of efforts to free the country from mercury hazards.

“Mercury is used in fillings commonly known as silver fillings. It is mixed with silver and copper to form a durable mixture to lock in the quicksilver. However, it
is seen that toxic mercury vapours leak and travel throughout the body before being deposited in vital organs and causing multiple health problems. Mercury vapours are not only harmful to patients but dental surgeons and their assistants, too, are exposed to them. In this light, we’ve banned mercury fillings,” she said.

The head of the Polyclinic dental surgery department said that mercury was used in fillings for being a low-cost material but hastened to add that there’re
mercury-free alternatives, including cermet, which was better in strength and biocompatibility and even cost less than mercury-based amalgams.

Dr Pakiza said that alarming, the use of mercury
fillings by hospitals and clinics was rampant and therefore, there was a
need to create public awareness of their hazards.

“I firmly believe better public awareness is the best way to turn ours into
a ‘mercury hazard-free country. In private capacity, I’ve planned to begin a campaign in this respect,” she said.

Dr Pakiza said that dentists in developed countries had restricted the use of mercury fillings as alternative materials were easily available and the high cost of treatment was easily borne by patients.

She said that other hospitals and clinics should follow in the footsteps of Polyclinic to ensure better health of the people.