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Why Dentist staff is one of most hazardous job in the world?

An article in Business Insider identified the most damaging job to one’s health as that of a dental worker, which included dentists, dental hygienists, and dental laboratory technicians. The findings were based on analysis of the Occupational Information Network, a US Department of Labor datebase with statistics on 974 occupations and 125 million employees. The dental profession ranked No. 1 based on high scores for exposure to contaminants and disease pathogens found in the air of dental offices.


SOURCES OF INDOOR AIR CONTAMINATION

In dental offices and dental laboratories, sources of indoor air contamination include the following:

  • Bio-aerosols---Dental instruments create hazardous bio-aerosols containing microbes from the saliva, blood, and subgingival fluids. The dispersal of these fine droplets can remain suspended in the air for up to six hours. A toxic cloud spans from the floor to a hight of six feet.

  • Patients---Sick patients can spread infectious illness throughout the office. Fine droplets that patients exhale can spread up to 160 feet from a patient’s mouth and travel up to 10 stories high through a building’s HVAC system.

  • Chemicals---There are many examples of chemical compounds in dental office air. For example, compounds from chemical disinfectants can affect staff, who face daily exposure to these pollutants. Mercury vapors can be dispersed in the air during removal of amalgam fillings. In labs, chemicals are an even bigger problem. Metal casting and porcelain baking can release dangerous airborne gases and vapors. In the creation of crowns, bridges, and dental prostheses, airborne contamination comes from metal alloys such as vironite, vitallium, wisil, and duralium. The most hazardous of them all may be methyl methacrylate monomer, which is used to generate polymer PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate). This compound is used in making dentures and other dental prostheses, as well as filters and cements.

  • Dust--- These particles come from many sources, most notably from carpet. Dust is an even bigger problem in the dental lab, as the grinding of materials creates a heavy airborne cloud of fine white dust.


INSUFFICIENTCY OF HVAC SYSTEMS AND PPE

Dental staff may believe they are protected from airborne contaminants and pathogens through a building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning(HVAC) system. Dr. Feuerstein, in his previously mentioned article, reveals the contrary. “Air conditioning systems do a great job of recirculating the air,”he says. “Bacteria, viruses, and all sorts of airborne things are being blown around the office.”

Personal protective equipment(PPE)is also insufficient. The US Food and Drug Administration does not conduct or sponsor testing of surgical masks. In 2016, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety stated:

  • The filter material of surgical masks does not retain or filter out submicron particles.

  • Surgical masks are not designed to eliminate air leakage around the edges.

  • Surgical masks do not protect wearers from inhaling small particles that can remain airborne for long periods of time once they take off their masks and walk around their offices.


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