DENTISTS risk developing kidney failure and memory loss because
of exposure to mercury in fillings, new research has found.
Dr Ewan Macdonald, an expert in public health at Glasgow University, said dentists are exposed to high levels of mercury vapour from amalgam fillings.
And he said many dental surgeries, particularly older ones, contain high levels of vapour in the air because of spillages and the length of time it takes to evaporate.
Dr Macdonald examined 180 dentists and 180 academic staff during his study.
Dentists had higher levels of mercury in all the samples, especially urine and Dr Macdonald is preparing to carry out a second study.
But there is no evidence so far to show that amalgam fillings cause side-effects in patients.Research in the journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found dentists had more kidney and neurological problems than academic staff.
It is believed they are suffering from mercury poisoning after they were found to carry four times more mercury in their bodies.
Dr Macdonald said: "Mercury exposure at higher levels is known to cause kidney and neurological problems so the association cannot be ruled out.
"Mercury levels found in the bodies, in hair, nails and urine, of dentists was four times higher than normal.
"It is an area which needs further investigation."
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