Colorado-based Mercury Instruments USA Inc. sells special equipment that gauges mercury levels in the air. The high tech equipment is used at industrial sites around the world to help train people to avoid invisible mercury.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set the average workday exposure limit for mercury at 100 micro grams per cubic meter. OSHA requires workers to wear protective equipment when mercury is over the limit. Sadly, many dentists don't care about the amount of mercury in their offices.
Mercury Instruments CEO Alex Hummell says that few dentists are even concerned about mercury levels in their dental practices. When amalgams are installed or removed, mercury is released into the mouths of patients and into the surrounding air. High speed vacuums are often used to suction the debris away from patients, but this doesn't stop the spread of mercury completely. Hummell says he's measured mercury levels in dental offices two to three times greater than OSHA limits. In one experiment, Hummell measured mercury levels 30 times the OSHA limit after just one amalgam was removed.
"I've seen in dental offices what would make these other offices have to shut down," said Hummell. "They would be closing their doors and getting respirators on."
Instead, he said, "there are kids running around everywhere. It's nuts. It's the exact same toxin, and it's being treated totally differently. Why is it being allowed to be so unregulated?"
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