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Christmas in July: How a Cabbage Patch Doll Is Like an Amalgam Separator


Christmas is on the same day every year. It’s not a surprise. Yet, year after year, the malls are overrun the week before, and people miss delivery deadlines online. These shoppers who are in a last-minute frantic rush often miss out on better deals on the items they purchase—that is, if the items are still in stock. The competition for the hot items can be fierce. These shoppers spend more money and waste more time—and ultimately don’t even always end up with what they want.

In the dental world, amalgam separators are the hot item and “Christmas” in this case is July 14, 2020. That’s the federal EPA deadline for installing an amalgam separator in most practices, dental schools and clinics that discharge water into publicly owned treatment facilities.

Solmetex cautions that the same quandary facing those last-minute shoppers at the mall could also face those clinicians who wait too long to purchase their amalgam separator to remove amalgam from their wastewater. As the deadline approaches, pricing may go up for both a separator, as well as, the cost to install, while those who purchase now may benefit from more competitive pricing.

And, like the Cabbage Patch dolls in the 1980s and the Tickle Me Elmos in the 1990s, the supply of amalgam separators will also go down as thousands of practices across the country rush to purchase them in order to meet the requirement. This increase in demand could create a “black market” effect whereby supply is so low that purchasers find themselves looking for creative means to purchase their separator before the installation deadline.

Moreover, installers likely will raise their install rates in response to demand. Currently costs are in the $150 to $225 an hour neighborhood, but they could climb as high as a flat fee of $2,000, something Solmetex says it saw in states that had their own regulation go into effect before the issuance of the federal mandate.

Think about how much pressure you might feel at the holidays to pay inflated prices for this year’s Pet Rock. Why put yourself through that same stress with the purchase or installation of something as important as a device that can help you stay on the right side of the law?

This is a situation where it will pay off to be like those people who have their holiday gifts bought and wrapped by the end of summer: Solmetex can help you be compliant with the federal rule now, when you can easily secure a separator that meets the federal guideline. So save time, money and hassle—and accelerate how quickly you can be taking an important step for environmental protection. Learn more at

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