Meet Nathan Swanson, the Dentist Trying to Make His Industry Green

Working out of his practice in Newmarket, New Hampshire, Dr. Nathan Swanson is trying to make dentistry green. While it's not your traditional target for greening -- there are no obvious smokestacks or waste affecting people on a day-to-day basis -- the dental industry could benefit from some basic lessons in sustainability. The x-ray tabs alone -- those uncomfortable chunks of plastic you have to bite down on when your mouth is being photographed -- result in several pounds of lead waste every year at Swanson's Newmarket Dental alone. Wouldn't a digital sensor be better? But wait, you say, this is my mouth. There are some things I don't want to compromise on, some things that shouldn't be cut. You might be surprised to learn, then, that greening your dentist's office can also have benefits to your personal health and well being. That digital sensor? It works just as well as the traditional method while exposing your body to one-third the radiation.

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The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration between The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Slate, and others, dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. Learn more at theclimatedesk.org.

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