Dentistry Goes Green for Ocean Conservation

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Holistic dentist and environmentalist Carey O'Rielly, DDS created a video for Encinitas Environment Day 2009 on green dentistry and ocean conservation. The video highlight waste metals in the ocean coming from the dental profession, marine plastic pollution, and solutions such as a compostable plastic alternative and art as inspiration.

…Governor Schwarzenegger's green legacy will include more active legislation to protect California's natural resources from waste metals, including metals from dentistry.

Created to promote a healthy environment as well as dental health, a new video by San Diego Holistic Dentist Carey O'Rielly DDS has a message about green dentistry and ocean conservation. Dr. O'Rielly's biological dentistry practice offers natural dental care in the San Diego North County beach town of Encinitas. His video emphasizes dentistry's environmental role because 14% of waste metals in the ocean come from dental practices. To see the video online, visit his new blog at

At the California Dental Association's May convention in Anaheim this year, Dr. O'Rielly met with Al Dube', Vice President of SolmeteX Corporation. 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 "…Governor Schwarzenegger's green legacy will include more active legislation to protect California's natural resources from waste metals, including metals from dentistry."

Another focus of Dr. O'Rielly's 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.

The video posted at also highlights a local Encinitas company, USCompo, which has developed a resin-based compostable plastic. It has been used by such companies as Burt's Bees and is currently being reviewed for use on Army bases and in Berkeley, CA's iconic restaurant Chez Panisse. USCompo's products break down into odor-free, nutrient-laden soil, and can be fabricated into numerous products such as tableware and cafeteria trays. The product is being used to protect seedlings in a reforestation project in Australia, and as compostable toilets for a non profit effort in Africa.

Dr. O'Rielly believes that local efforts will continue to be the backbone of the green movement, like the June 6th charity fundraiser held in Encinitas' Quail Gardens. Hosted by the Rotary Club, the event featured 100% recyclable utensils and tableware. No trash cans were anywhere on site and a portion of the food waste is being composted for use in the Gardens. All wine glasses and plates not kept as souvenirs will be re-used at the annual event in 2010.

One Rotarian in attendance was Encinitas-based oral surgeon Dr. Suzanne McCormick, currently President of the California State Dental Board. "I would like to see solutions implemented for disposables from dentistry and medicine," commented Dr. McCormick. "So much waste, especially packaging and plastics, can be generated from just one procedure…."

Dr. O'Rielly agrees. "In any profession, positive change is made possible through responsible leadership. Dr. McCormick and I hope to bring more awareness to the environmental footprint of the dental/medical fields." As of August of 2008, Dr. O'Rielly is accredited by the State Board of California to teach other dentists about bio-compatibility and environmental health issues. For Dr. O'Rielly's commentary on environmental health news visit his blog at:

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 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: .

Since 2000 Dr. O'Rielly's web site at has provided educational material on green, holistic dentistry and dental health. His new holistic dentistry blog will offer videos on popular topics of interest. To find out about his work with laser dentistry visit his new web site at]. For more information about Dr. O'Rielly's environmental activism, holistic approach to cosmetic dentistry or mercury free services contact Victoria Klubok, education director for Integrative Dental Practice.

About Integrative Dental                    
Founded in 1998 by Encinitas holistic dentist Carey O'Rielly DDS, Integrative Dental offers San Diego families green, biological and cosmetic dentistry in peaceful, environmentally conscious surroundings.

Victoria Klubok, education director
Integrative Dental Practice                    


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