Install an Amalgam Separator Easily, Before It's Too Late
By now, you may already know about the Environmental Protection Agency mandate for practices to install an amalgam separator for eliminating mercury from your practice’s wastewater.
And you may also know that the clock is counting down on compliance: many existing practices have until July 14, 2020, to install a regulation amalgam separator.
However, if you’re like many clinicians, you have a lot on your plate, and worrying about your patients, your staff and your business is a lot more pressing than mercury hypothetically winding up in the ocean. You may have seen the figure that less than 1 percent of the mercury released into the environment comes from the dental industry. And the deadline is still two years away, so there’s no rush to address this, right?
Well, before you backburner this requirement, take a moment to consider these alarming statistics: the EPA estimates dentists discharge approximately 3.7 tons of mercury each year to publicly owned treatment works. At the individual level, practices are estimated to dispose of between one and three pounds of mercury each year. But just 10 grams of mercury is enough to contaminate an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Plus, mercury bioaccumulates in fish, and it’s through fish that most people are exposed to mercury. So one practice’s one to three pounds, combined with another practice’s same one to three pounds can exponentially impact fish and other marine life. Multiply that at the national level, and the dental industry’s role can be devastating, even at a 1 percent contribution.
So, yes, if you’re not already using an amalgam separator, reducing your small piece of the overall cumulative mercury waste does make a difference.
The EPA does recognize that many dental practices do filter their water, which does reduce mercury solids from reaching the ocean. However, amalgam separators are far more effective at removing mercury from wastewater, which is why the EPA has started requiring their use.
Solmetex’s amalgam separators comply with the EPA standards. Find out more about them at solmetex.com.