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Letters: Good Science

February 20, 2012

I read with interest the article "Good Progress Reported in Mercury Treaty Talks" (Nov. 21 ADA News). I have yet to see the numbers relating to the real quantities of mercury discharged by dentistry. Making any policy, regulation or law without good science behind the decision is nonsense.

Dentistry can do very little without some science and evidence that new products or techniques are safe, effective and appropriate for the situations in which they will be used. I see no reason that this is not the same for regulations, etc.

Before we go off the deep end on dentistry’s role in mercury pollution of the environment, let’s see exactly what that effect is. Where is the science on this? Where are the numbers?

It seems to me there will be extensive mercury pollution once the incandescent light bulb is gone and people take the compact fluorescent lamp lights and throw them in the trash. Before long, the amount of mercury pollution from CFLs will far surpass that of dental amalgam. Or maybe we will never know. After all, there never may be any science to know our effect in the first place.

Eric H. Schroeder, D.D.S.
Cheektowaga, N.Y.

Editor’s note: The ADA has long held that government regulation must be based on accurate information and has repeatedly made this point to all those government agencies involved in the United Nations Environment Programme negotiations. Further, the ADA has sponsored research which establishes the precise nature of dentistry’s contribution to mercury in wastewater and how it can easily and effectively be controlled.