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September JADA: Occupational mercury exposure assessed

August 27, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Occupational elemental mercury exposure in U.S. dentists has decreased over time and is approaching levels similar to that of the general population, according to new research from the ADA Science Institute, Rush University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The research is published in the September 2015 issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association, which is available online.

Using data from the ADA Health Screening Program, researchers evaluated the relationship of occupational elemental mercury exposure with multiple sclerosis and tremor.

"We view this paper as a very positive finding in showing that dentists today are at a minimal risk for adverse neurological effects through their practice of dentistry and use of amalgam," said Stephen E. Gruninger, study co-author and senior research fellow at the ADA Science Institute.

In September, the ADA Health Policy Institute will ask dentists by email to complete an online survey related to this study. It will inquire about neurological health and diseases that may be associated with mercury exposure. Results will be used for further research.

Other highlights in the September 2015 JADA include a how-to on appraising and using economic analyses, a critical summary of a systematic review about applying fluoride varnish to prevent white spots and a look at the safety of deep sedation or general anesthesia while providing dental care.

In addition to reading JADA online and in print, readers can access it from their phone or tablet using the JADA app, which is available for all iOS and Android devices through the App Store and Google Play.