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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-87-281-1854, Litteken Dental Clinic, Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 87-281-1854, 1987 Dec; :1-10
In response to a request from the management department, an investigation was made of possible hazardous exposures to mercury (7439976) and nitrous-oxide (10024972) at the Litteken Dental Clinic (SIC-8021) in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Air samples were taken while the dentist and three assistants were using and while the dentist and one assistant used mercury amalgams. Nitrous-oxide was in use for over 3 hours. The air sampling results revealed a range of nitrous- oxide concentrations in the room air from 30 to 220 parts per million (ppm) with a mean concentration of 105ppm. Mercury concentrations ranged from nondetectable to 0.009ppm, well below the evaluation criteria of 0.05ppm. The nitrous-oxide scavenging ventilation system in operation was somewhat effective; nitrous- oxide levels were far lower than have been recorded in other dental clinics. The author concludes that a health hazard from excessive exposures to nitrous-oxide exists, but mercury levels pose no health hazard in this clinic. The author recommends that the ventilation system should be adjusted each time nitrous-oxide is going to be used. Routine maintenance checks should be performed on all anesthetic and suction equipment. The installation of a large fan on the roof of the building is suggested. Patients, particularly children, should be watched so that they do not play with the face mask during the administration of nitrous-oxide.
NIOSH-Author; HETA-87-281-1854; Region-6; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazard-Confirmed; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Health-care-personnel; Dentistry; Anesthetics; Heavy-metals;
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division