UK ‘ahead of the game’ in green dentistry

A US eco-dentistry expert has applauded the efforts of dentists here in the UK for spearheading ‘green’ practices in the surgery.

As the world celebrated Earth Day on 22 April, Ina Pockrass, co-founder of the US Eco Dentistry Association, said: ‘The UK is ahead of the curve on capturing mercury-containing dental materials before they enter the water supply.

‘Unlike the US, which has yet to pass a federal amalgam separator regulation, the UK began requiring these low-cost machines back in the mid 1990s. The separators are an essential piece of environmental stewardship because without them, local waste water treatment facilities are not able to capture the elemental mercury before it enters the water supply.’ 

She adds: ‘Why do we care? Otherwise, that elemental mercury is ingested by fish and transformed into methyl mercury, which is highly toxic when consumed by humans. So, we applaud the forward-thinking folks in the UK who have helped dentists be good citizens of their local communities by keeping this material out of the water supplies.’

At www.ecodentistry.org, there at Top 10 Earth Day tips which can be applied by dentists all around the globe.

EDA’s Top 10 Earth Day Green Tips for Dental Professionals

1. Replace disposable office products with re-usables, like washable ‘rinse and swish’ cups.

 

2. Re-use lab boxes.

 

3. Use cloth lab coats instead of throwing out a paper lab coat after each patient.

 

4. Switch to an environmentally sound surface disinfectant.

 

5. Recycle spent printer cartridges instead of throwing them in the landfill

 

6. Buy prophy paste in bulk

 

7. Give old waiting room magazines new life by dropping them off at a nearby retirement home

 

8. Email patients their ‘walk-out’ statements instead of printing them. Bonus: you’ll collect lots of email addresses.

 

9. Request that your dental supply company ship as many items as possible in one box.

 

10. Pledge to turn off the water when you brush to save 90 glasses of water; ask your patients to do the same.

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