Mercury exposure and health impacts in dental personnel

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Abstract

Based on toxicological, clinical, and epidemiological knowledge, the present paper reviews the status regarding possible deleterious health effects from occupational exposure to metallic mercury (Hg) in dental practice. Symptoms from the central nervous system are among the health problems that most often are attributed to Hg exposure in dentists and dental nurses working with amalgam. Uncharacteristic symptoms of chronic low-level Hg vapor exposure including weakness, fatigue, and anorexia have been observed in numerous studies of dental personnel. It is crucial to protect both human health and the environment against negative effects of Hg. In line with this, the use of dental amalgam in industrial countries is about to be phased out. In Norway and Sweden, the use of the filling material is banned.

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