I was very impressed with your New Dentist publication, especially the aspect of establishing a “green” office. One thing that even the green movement does not realize yet is the aspect of mercury vapor hygiene in the dental office. I am the vice president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (www.iaomt.org). We have been advocating proper office ventilation with filtration and personal protection for patients and employees for 25 years. OSHA has a maximum PEL limitation exposure of 50 micrograms of mercury per cubic meter of air in an eight hour day and 100 micrograms in a single exposure. When my assistant opens up the back of the dental chair to clean out the trap we have measured mercury vapor levels as high as 600 micrograms in the air. I use a Jerome mercury analyzer which can detect levels as low as 3 micrograms in the air, much like a Geiger counter. We also use an air filter with carbon filtering masks to reduce employee exposure. We are hopeful that the allopathic dentists will begin to realize this danger and then all offices can become more green. In addition we advocate the use of mercury separators in order to reduce dumping it into the environment. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Thanks…Dr. Matt Young