Carbon modelling within dentistry: towards a sustainable future

Ingeborg Steinbach's picture

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CSH’s report ‘Carbon modelling within dentistry: towards a sustainable future’ commissioned by Public Health England has now been published. The report analyses the carbon footprint of 17 of the most common dental procedures, including both high-volume, low resource and low volume but resource intensive treatments, and identifies the types of service which are responsible for large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2013 to 2014, the total greenhouse gas emissions of NHS dental services in England measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e) was 675,706. The highest proportion of these emissions is caused by travel, followed by procurement, energy, nitrous oxide, waste and water. For 10 of the analysed procedures, travel makes up over 60% of the dental carbon footprint. For the more resource intensive procedures, procurement is responsible for between 39 and 61% of their carbon footprint.

Dental examinations contribute the highest proportion (27.1%) to the overall carbon footprint of NHS primary dental services due to the high volume of activity. Looking at individual courses of treatment, an examination, a radiograph and a fluoride varnish treatment have the lowest carbon footprint compared to the rest of the procedures, ie 5.5 kgCO2e per treatment. You can download the full report below.

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July, 2018

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  • information resource

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