Mercury (Hg) as amalgam has been used as a dental filling material for more than 150 years. Thereby, Hg emits into wastewater from households and dental clinics and into air
from incinerators and cremation furnaces. Soil and sediment get contaminated via atmospheric deposition and when spreading wastewater sludge as a soil conditioner or at improper dumping in land fills. Banning Hg in dentistry is the only long-term way to stop Hg emissions from dental amalgam. Even with a ban for dental amalgam, immediate actions are needed to reduce emissions from the 1300—2200 tonnes of Hg inserted in EU
citizens (15 countries). These ongoing emissions from dental clinics and cremation furnaces could be efficiently controlled with available technology, while emissions from abrasion due to every day chewing cannot be hindered without large monetary costs. We present actual, national Hg emissions from dental clinics and crematoria in Sweden and compare these emissions with calculated emissions if best available technologies were to
be used. Both technical and economic aspects are addressed. In conclusion, Hg emissions from crematoria could be practically eliminated with only marginal costs, while Hg emissions from dental clinics in Sweden could and must be reduced by more than an order of magnitude to obtain wastewater sludge with Hg levels acceptable in a sustainable context.
2006. 574- p.