Water Journal : Water Journal April 2012
wastewater Ian Crawford, who was familiar with dental equipment and trusted both within the profession and dental equipment industry, was engaged to liaise between parties. For the first two years, a subsidy of the either $1000 or 20% of purchase and installation costs (if exceeding $5,000) for compliant separators was paid. In the final year, the rebate fell to $500 or 10%. The projected costs for purchase and installation across Victoria ranged from $5 to $10 million. In late 2010, over 550 dental surgeries had installed ISO 111 43-compliant separators. In March 2011, 902 practices were committed to separators. South East Water published a CMA Ecocycle estimate that from July 2009 to September 2011 more than 328 kgm of mercury was harvested from amalgam waste. Further statistics are imminent. Conclusion Given the wisdom of hindsight, problems with the historic management of mercurial waste from dental practices are identified. They relate to isolated silos of research that required multidisciplinary and cross- disciplinary investigation. The chameleon- like nature of mercury is confirmed. Within the oral environment, amalgam provides little bioavailable mercury: the same is not true in wastewater. In bygone eras, dentists, like many in society, did not fully understand the mobility and invasiveness of water. These misconceptions have disappeared. Moreover, until comparatively recent times, Australia did not have the recycling infrastructure to resolve amalgam-related issues. The Victorian exercise also confirms that networking, consultation and self-regulation can work. In this regard, Crawford was a pivotal appointment. This pilot project carries ramifications for all dental practices across Australia. The Author Dr Harry Akers (email: firstname.lastname@example.org. au) is currently employed by Queensland Health as a Senior Dental Officer at the Brisbane Dental Hospital, Turbot St, Brisbane. He is a former Senior Lecturer in Clinical Dentistry at the University of Queensland School of Dentistry. He has many post-graduate qualifications, including a PhD thesis: Water Fluoridation in Queensland 1930 to 2008: A Critical Analysis. He classifies himself as a dental historian with a penchant for the behavioural and political sciences. Disclaimer The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author. References ADA Inc, 2011: Dental Amalgam a Necessary and Environmentally Responsible Option, National Dental Update, September: 1. Arenholt-Bindslev D, 1992: Dental Amalgam -- Environmental Aspects, Advances in Dental Research, 6(1), pp 125--130. Ash R, undated: Reducing Amalgam Waste & Mercury loads to Sewers from Victorian Dental Surgeries, URS Australia, Melbourne, downloaded from www.awa.asn.au/ uploadedFiles/Amalgam (accessed 2 January 2012). Department of Protection of the Human Environment, 2005: Mercury in Health Care, WHO, Geneva: 1--2. NHMRC Working Party, 1999: Dental Amalgam and Mercury in Dentistry, NHMRC, Canberra: 13, 9. Spencer AJ, 1999: Dental Amalgam and Mercury in Dentistry, Australian Dental Journal, 45(4) pp 224--234. WHO, 2007: 'Exposure to Mercury: A Major Public Health Concern', WHO, Geneva: 1--4.
Water Journal May 2012
Water Journal December 2011