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It is time to change
I was very happy to read Practice versus Planet in the July/August issue of OD.
Think of the Earth as a huge cage. Humans are filling the cage with garbage and pollutants. The cage is finite, thus to keep filling it is unsustainable. All residents of Earth need to address this now. As health professionals who produce vast amounts of dental solid and other waste, we need to be especially concerned. The dental industry has the power to make a significant difference in the amount of waste generated. Here is my wish list for change. Each group is important and necessary to achieve the change we need in order to maintain a sustainable environment.
- Public health officials should find a balance between infection prevention and control and the waste generated. There are future health problems being created by dumping garbage, especially plastics into the environment.
- Government agencies, professional regulatory bodies, and national and provincial dental associations should recognize the severity of dentistry’s waste issue and develop and implement action plans to make change.
- Dental professionals and patients should practice ‘the four Rs’: Rethink, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse.
- Dental supply companies and manufacturers of oral hygiene, teeth aligner and whitening products should create products with minimal packaging and of recyclable materials whenever possible.
- Dental laboratories should practice the four Rs.
- Dental education institutions should do research on delivering dental services in more environmentally conscious ways. Educating students to deliver dentistry in environmentally responsible ways is also a priority.
- Dental journals should feature articles on dental environmental issues so as to educate and promote this important issue.
It is time for us to change; our health and the health of our children is at stake.
Dr. Susan Fulop
Reprinted with permission of the Ontario Dental Association and Ontario Dentist, 2020. Originally published as a Letter to the Editor, October Ontario Dentist.