Earth Day is about holding to our intentions of being good stewards of the environment. It’s a trust that we hold for the generations to come
Everyone wins when environmental health is respected and safeguarded
Each time the healthy balance of our environment is downgraded and environmental health on the planet suffers, quality of life becomes more difficult to sustain. As a San Diego holistic dentist I see a responsibility to the environment as well as to my patients. When green dentistry acts as a monitor of dentists’ environmental footprint, the impact of our profession on the oceans, for example, can be softened.
One important way for dentistry to go green is to filter out dental metals before they get into the water system. The filter that does this is called an amalgam separator. It is only mandated in a few states, and California is not one of them. Since the filters are pricey- around $1000,00, dentists often don’t volunteer to install them. Ask your dentist if he or she has an amalgam separator.
Amalgam separators are used to filter out dental metals before they get into the water system.
This blog was launched as a celebration of Earth Day 2009 and to showcase the video on ocean conservation we created for Encinitas Environment Day that year. We are giving our blog a new look in honor of Earth Day 2011.
Some exceptional videos are available to mark this year’s event. Above is one from Greenpeace, an organization that has been championing conservation since 1971. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Greenpeace’s now has an Earth Day network in 41 countries.
At the California Dental Association convention that met in San Diego this weekend, we encountered Teena Marie of Precious Metals, Ltd. Teena does a service for the environment by recycling dental scrap metal. She reminded us that she’d provided dental metals that were imaged in our 2009 video on conservation. Created for Encinitas Environment Day, the video can be found here: http://www.dentistrygoesgreen.com/?m=200907.
Teena is passionate about protecting the environment and so are many dental office workers she encounters on her rounds. We were stunned to learn that many dentists are not interested in recycling dental scrap metals. To this end we promised to deliver an update of our video and get the message out… Recycling dental scrap metal is just plain common sense because it is a simple thing we can do to protect our environment. Find out how San Francisco is mandating greater responsibility from dental offices at http://www.dentistrygoesgreen.com/?m=200907. Then ask your local dentist if the office has an amalgam separator and play a part in making sure that dentistry goes green.
An environmental project on toxic methyl-mercury ingestion released in February 2010 quantified the actual cost of toxic mercury emissions. Issued jointly by Norwegian and Swedish research institutes, the report estimates that if current trends continue, human and wildlife exposure will increase by 25%. The Scandinavian study estimates that damages to society worldwide, due to respiratory issues and loss of I.Q., may be as much as $6.6 billion.
In places where fish consumption is high, or in areas where pollution is heavy due to factors like coal burning, the risk is greatest. Other factors include the use of mercury amalgams in dentistry. Elsewhere, it has been estimated that up to twenty tons of heavy metals released into the environment annually are dental metals from offices in the US. However, emission controls and technological reductions could allow emissions to drop by as much as 60%.
Methylmercury is the main pollutant that accumulates in living organisms, including fish. In 2004, the FDA, together with the Environmental Protection Agency, issued a joint advisory aimed at protecting pregnant women, women considering becoming pregnant, nursing mothers and young children. At high enough levels, mercury can harm a developing fetus and cause problems with brain development. The advisory recommended that these populations avoid four types of large predator fish that accumulate greater quantities of pollutants, such as swordfish, shark, tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico and king mackerel.
About my blog
As a holistic dentist practicing in San Diego, I address environmental health concerns on an ongoing basis.
Environmental health refers to a sustainable balance in our bodies and in our world.
Here we explore current trends and issues that affect both.