attempted to quantify mercury releases of the most significant categories of mercury-containing products, using a life cycle approach from production to disposal of these products in the US.
They used substance flow models and estimated mercury releases for 1990, 2000, and 2005.
Conclusions: Mercury used in products and processes, including dental amalgams, is a global pollutant.
Even after the last mercury dental amalgam is placed, its toxic legacy will continue for decades, because of its pervasive bioaccumulation in the environment.
Regarding the use and disposal of dental amalgam, human waste, tooth loss, cremation and infectious waste were considered.
While these routes may result in significant releases of mercury, it was determined that cremation is the most critical.
Government regulatory agencies should make it mandatory to utilize available technologies, not only in developing countries, but also in developed countries, to reduce mercury contamination.
Competing Interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Mercury in dental amalgam is a hidden source of global mercury pollution, resulting from the illegal diversion of dental mercury into the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector, to crematoria emissions from the deceased and sewage sludge that is sold to farmers.
The present study searched the electronic data bases of Pub Med and Google Scholar.