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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

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Published Date: Jul 10, 2014

Toxic Mercury and Mercury Amalgam Use in Dentistry – the need to review and revise current BDS curriculum at dental teaching institutions – (PB – 43)


The extreme hazardousness and toxicity of the only known liquid element mercury is well established. Mercury has been ranked third in the list of toxic substances (ATSDR 2012).  Being assessed as a toxic substance to ecosystem, wildlife and human (UNEP 2002 & 2013),  it   affects nervous system and functioning of brain, especially of children. Short-term mercury exposure may cause damage to lungs, skin rashes and eyes irritation. Metallic mercury is an allergen that may cause eczema. Mercury amalgam use for teeth health care can lead to oral lichen (Jarup 2003; Martin & Griswold 2009; OPH 2008). In view of the adverse health impacts due to mercury exposure and its impacts on ecosystem and environment, in order to reduce and phase out global mercury use, “Minamata Convention on Mercury,” was in-acted by over 140 countries in early 2013 and till now 94 countries (including Pakistan) have already signed it (UNEP 2013).

In an earlier SDPI study carried out at 34 dental sites (including 17 dental teaching institutions) in five main cities of Pakistan, alarmingly high levels of mercury vapours were observed in outdoor/indoor air around these sites (Khwaja & Abbasi 2014; Khwaja et al. 2013). 88% of the sites indicated indoor mercury levels in air above the USA EPA reference level of 300ng/m3. SDPI study also indicated general unawareness among dental professionals regarding appropriate handling of mercury/mercury amalgam, poor management of mercury containing wastes, improper and inadequate ventilation system at the workplace, lack of awareness about hazards of mercury exposure to human health and its adverse impact on the environment. Use of liquid mercury for mercury amalgam making, non-mechanical mixing and very careless/care free use of mercury/mercury amalgam by the students at dental teaching institutions have been considered other main reasons for the above reported very high mercury vapour levels in the air at some of the monitored dental sites (Khwaja & Abbasi 2014; Khwaja et al. 2013).  

The present study was designed follow up to the above SDPI study report, with the following objectives:

  •      to know the present level of awareness and general practices regarding mercury/mercury amalgam use in operative dentistry in Pakistan
  •     to review BDS curriculum/syllabus, presently offered by national and professional bodies (including Pakistan Medical and Dental Council-PMDC) to the students of dental teaching institutions in the country.
  •     to assess and evaluate its contents with regard to mercury/mercury amalgam use and occupational health, safety & environment, best environmental practices/technologies employed and management of mercury containing waste related issues.
  •      to emphasize the need to revise the curriculum/syllabus at the earliest time possible, in the light of the above findings and to develop recommendations for additional needed relevant contents as part of the dental curriculum, for adequate knowledge and training of upcoming dental professionals towards minimizing mercury exposure, occupational health and safety of healthcare workers, mercury containing waste reduction at source and protection of environment.

For comparison and guidance, the curriculum offered by medical and dental councils of neighboring countries, Bangladesh and India and some teaching institutions in India and Pakistan were also reviewed.
Details of the above activities, collected data, findings/results and recommendations are briefly described and discussed in the foregoing pages.