Cinnaminson, NJ, November 9th, 2015
There are hundreds of thousands of workers employed at dental offices and laboratories across North America. These professionals, who provide essential services for the rest of the population, may face various occupational exposure hazards throughout their work day.
While biological and blood-borne pathogens come to mind as an occupational exposure risk, there are a number of other potential material and chemical hazards that may be present in dental facilities. In fact, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Dental office and lab workers may be exposed to beryllium, which is used to make crowns, bridges, and partial dentures. Beryllium is listed as a human carcinogen in the Thirteenth Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program. Dental workers may face potential reproductive health risks from exposure to heavy metals, organic solvents, sterilizing substances, and anesthetic gases. They may develop respiratory diseases after long-term exposure to dental drills made of cobalt, a hard metal. Dental workers may also be exposed to phthalates, which are used to make plastic medical devices; formaldehyde-resin adhesives; glues; and coatings. If dental workers use latex gloves, they may develop latex allergies or occupational asthma.”
Anesthetic gases may also leak into the surrounding area during dental procedures. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 250,000 healthcare professionals who work in dental offices, hospitals, operating rooms and veterinary clinics are potentially exposed to waste anesthetic gases and are at risk of occupational illness.
“Amalgam fillings that contain mercury are another issue; dentists and dental workers should handle these materials with care,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Dental workers can be exposed to many different potentially harmful materials during the course of their day-to-day activities. At EMSL, we offer comprehensive indoor environmental testing services to identify these materials and associated airborne pollutants that could cause exposure concerns for workers. Understanding what is actually present in a dental office or laboratory is essential for ensuring a healthy work environment.”
EMSL recently sponsored an educational video about potential occupational and environmental exposure concerns in dental laboratories and offices that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/I2Hm95-tOGE.
To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800)220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.