Recommendations to NHMRC Amalgam Review Working Party
The costs of setting up an entirely new inquiry probably cannot be justified when much
of the hard work has already been done. ASOMAT would welcome such an inquiry but we
suggest that a more reasonable approach might be to adopt a policy which combines the
recommendations of the various Government bodies ( discussed in Part A ) which have
already looked at this issue. To that end ASOMAT offers the following recommendations for
- Amalgams should be phased out over a 3-5 year period and a concentrated retraining of
the dental profession and a change in emphasis in clinical teaching institutions be
implemented as soon as possible.
- Extensive revisions should be made to the NHMRC brochure in order to accurately reflect
current research. It is also clear that the results of the Richardson report should be
incorporated into such a document. ASOMAT would welcome involvement in the preparation of
the revised brochure.
- TDI exposure values need to be determined as a guide to assessing acceptable mercury
vapour exposure levels. ASOMAT does not recommend any particular values but believes that
the Richardson report is an appropriate starting point from which to derive such values.
ASOMAT would like to bring to the Working partys attention that Dr. Mark Richardson
will be visiting Australia in September 1998 and has indicated a willingness to meet and
work with NHMRC. ASOMAT encourages NHMRC to consider meeting with Dr. Richardson to
discuss the development of TDI levels for Australia.
- Research should be undertaken to determine the amount of mercury released into the
sewerage systems by dental surgeries and consider requiring mandatory amalgam traps. A
Pilot study in Seattle which looked at this found significant improvements in waste water
quality after traps were installed in dental surgeries.
- Monitoring facilities should be established to enable dentists to have their offices
checked for mercury vapour levels. Currently it is very difficult for this to be done, An
Australia wide survey of mercury vapour levels in dental offices would be a very important
step in gathering data which is presently not available.