Environmental Impacts of Mercury-free Dental Materials

Student: Hannah Binner
Supervisors: Tim Sullivan & Mairead Harding

With the introduction of Article 10 of Regulation (EU) 2017/852, dental amalgam use has become restricted within the EU, which in turn has led to an increase in use of mercury-free dental alternatives.

During her research, Hannah aims to determine the particle size, shape, distribution and likely chemical composition of particles resulting from the use of these mercury-free dental materials using a range of analytical chemistry methods. Furthermore, she aims to quantify the waste streams resulting from the use of mercury-free materials leaving the dental surgery. A third objective of this study is to determine the efficacy and efficiency of amalgam separators (an amalgam filtering device either built directly into the dental chair or built into the dental clinic) to also remove particles resulting from mercury-free dental materials. And lastly, ecotoxicity testing will be carried out to determine potential hazards from particles of mercury-free dental materials.

This material is based upon research supported by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency under Grant Award No 2017-HW-MS-11.

The following works have been disseminated as part of this project:

Year Citation
2021 Binner, H.; Kamali, N.; Harding, M., and T. Sullivan. "Characteristics of wastewater originating from dental practices using predominantly mercury-free dental materials." Science of the Total Environment, 152632 (2021). [DOI]
2020 Sullivan, T.; Binner, H.; Kamali, N., and M. Harding. "Characteristics of wastewater associated with dental practice." ENVIRON 2020, Online (2020).
Binner, H.; Sullivan, T.; Hayes, M. and M. Harding. "Characterisation of dental wastewaters associated with the use of mercury-free materials." SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting, Online (2020).
2019 Binner, H.; Sullivan, T.; Kamali, N.; Hayes, M. and M. Harding. "Assessment of the potential environmental impacts arising from mercury-free dental restorative materials."  International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Annual Meeting, Cork (2019).
Binner, H.; Kamali, N.; Harding, M. and T. Sullivan"Assessment of the potential environmental impacts arising from mercury-free dental restorative materials." ENVIRON 2019, Carlow (2019).
2018 Binner, H.; Kamali, N.; Harding, M. and Sullivan, T"Assessment of the environmental and health impacts arising from mercury-free dental restorative materials." Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Health Service Executive (HSE) “Knowledge and Data" Conference, Dublin (2018).

Materials & Environmental Science Applications

Grúpa Taighde d'Ábhair & Feidhmeanna Eolaíocht Chomhshaoil

School of BEES, University College Cork, Cork Enterprise Centre, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, T23 TK30

Funding Sources