Safe use of chemicals and risk communication among dentists and dental students in Greece


Use of chemicals, most often classified for intrinsic hazards, is rather common among dentists. To date, no data have been recorded in the European Union (EU) on dentists’ awareness regarding the safe use of chemicals. In the EU regulatory framework, two Regulations with wide applications, namely Regulations (EC) 1907/2006 (REACH) and 1272/2008 (CLP), have been introduced to protect human health and the environment and clearly communicate hazards posed by chemicals to workers and consumers. The aim of this study was to assess the extent of comprehension of hazard communication of chemicals among Greek dentists. For this, a closed-ended, anonymous and validated questionnaire was initially distributed to a total of 300 Greek dentists, both professionals and university students, over a period of 4 months. The collected data from 240 final responders were subjected to statistical analysis (frequencies, percentages, chi-square (χ2) and significance (p < 0.05)). The vast majority (90%) of the interviewed dentists are not aware of the CLP. Main sources of information regarding chemical hazard and safe use was the supplier through direct communication (90%), while some dentists also consulted the product labels (39%) and the material safety data sheets (54%). Regarding hazard communication, the perceived information from the pictograms is confusing to the vast majority of the dentists (86%), especially for systemic hazards (carcinogenicity and/or reproductive toxicity). In addition, 88% of the professional dentists have not noticed any changes in the labelling of chemical products, which also shows the low input of labels to hazard communication. On the other hand, 90% of the responders always utilize personal protective equipment (PPE), although it is not clear whether this PPE is adequate. In conclusion, rising awareness campaigns are needed, in collaboration with universities and dental care professional associations, to inform dentists about the safe use of chemicals not only to ensure protection of their own health but also to contribute to environmental sustainability.

Authors: Elisabeth A Koulaouzidou, Christina Tsitsimpikou, Alexandros K Nikolaidis, Christina Karanasiou, Eleni Foufa, Konstantinos Tsarouhas
; Full Source: Toxicology and industrial health 2020 Jun;36(6):427-435. doi: 10.1177/0748233720933062.