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A study warns of pumping the liquid waste of dental clinics into UAE public sewage systems 13 November 2011
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences (SHAMS) warns of pumping the liquid waste of dental clinics into UAE public sewage systems because of exceeding the allowed limit for discharge of mercury-containing waste, because of Amalgam the main components of these waste as it is the most commonly used materials in restorative dental fillings.
This was declared according to a recent study supported by SHAMS and conducted by Dr. Sawsan Al Kawas Associate Professor and head of Oral and craniofacial Health sciences department at Faculty of Dentistry, Sharjah University entitled "Quantitative analysis of mercury concentration in the waste water released from dental clinics in UAE ".
Dr. Al Kawas said that the study was conducted on 38 wastewater samples from 28 public dental clinics in Sharjah and Abou Dhabi.
The study has shown that the average concentration of Hg in all samples was 317.7 µg L-1 . According to Dubai Municipality’s environmental standards, the maximum allowable limit for discharge of mercury-containing waste to the sewerage system is 10 µg L-1 and to land for irrigation is only 1 µg L-1 ", Dr. Sawsan Al Kawas said.
"Although, UAE percentage is more than the accepted universal percentage, it is still less than similar rates in many regional and world countries", Dr Sawsan Al Kawas added.
"Unless following a good scientific treatment way, such water waste from dental clinics may threaten the environment and human beings in general and the marine life, ecological balance and agricultural crops in particular. Within the Gulf region, around third waste water is used, after treatment, to irrigate agricultural land". She added.
"A number of European Countries, such as Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Denmark, have realized the danger of such problem and then taken some procedures to separate such material", she added.
On the other hand, Prof. Najeeb Al Khaja, Secretary General of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences said that achieving a balance between using modern technology in diagnosis and treatment and preserving the environment is a must to avoid higher rates of serious and chronic diseases such as impairment of the developing central nervous system, pulmonary and nephrotic damage, and impairment of osmoregulatory functions.
"Now, SHAMS is working on presenting the  results and recommendations of the study to the UAE concerned ministries and authorities such as ministry of health, ministry of environment and water, municipalities and Health Authorities to take the required action to prevent mercury from reaching our food and water". Prof. Al Khaja said.He added that the study will be also published on SHAMS’s Journal for Medical Sciences in order to be available to Arab and foreign specialists.
Al Khaja added that the paper comes within the framework of great efforts exerted by SHAMS on giving grants and supporting a real treasure of UAE scientific research papers, whose main aim is preserving community and public health within UAE. It is worthy to mention that since the establishment of SHAMS in 1999 till now, the Award’s research support centre has supported 65 research papers through a budget of AED 2 million in each term.