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To further research dentistry’s impact on conservation,  Dr. O’Rielly met with Al Dube’, Vice President of SolmeteX Corporation at the California Dental Association’s convention in June 2009. SolmeteX Corporation is a company providing amalgam filtration for the dental industry. According to Mr. Dube’, twenty tons of heavy metals released into the environment every year come from dental offices in the US.

Currently ten states mandate amalgam separators, the type of filtration offered by SolmeteX, which removes mercury found in amalgam waste before it can enter the water system. The six New England states, New York, New Jersey, Oregon and most recently Michigan have made amalgam filtration mandatory. Elsewhere, amalgam filtration is voluntary.

As of September 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency continues to support voluntary amalgam filtration, and the California Dental Board follows this guideline. Environmentalists like Dr. O’Rielly hope that there will be a trend toward ‘green’ legislation to include more active protection of California’s natural resources from waste metals, including metals from dentistry.

Another focus of Dr. O’Rielly’s conservation video is the role of plastic pollution in the oceans. About 90% of all the trash in the ocean is thought to be plastic. In 2006, the UN Environmental Programme estimated that 46,000 pieces of plastic are found in every square mile of ocean. The Pacific Garbage Patch, an area between California and Japan where the currents collect debris, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas.

Conservation awareness in the form of global art and education has been promoted by world-renowned artist and activist Wyland since the 1970’s. Dr. O’Rielly would like to again acknowledge the Wyland Foundation for its generous participation in his video project. Wyland’s projects are meant to inspire and motivate us to preserve the beauty of our oceans. For more on the Foundation’s activities visit the Media Page at: www.wylandfoundation.org.Amalgam separator