We all agree that most dental offices dispose of amalgam, which is used in patients’ fillings. And it’s common knowledge that amalgam contains mercury and that mercury is dangerous to the environment. But did you know that dental practices are the main source of mercury discharge into publicly owned treatment works (sewage treatment plants)? That’s what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says in a recent report.
Dental practices don't want to send amalgam and mercury into our environment and most follow the Best Management Practices established by the ADA. However, in order to ensure that this isn't happening, the EPA signed a final rule on December 15, 2016 requiring dental offices to use amalgam separators. “Removing mercury when it is in a concentrated and easy to manage form in dental amalgam, before it becomes diluted and difficult and costly to remove, is a common sense step to prevent mercury from being released into the environment where it can become a hazard to humans,” the EPA says in its ruling.
The EPA predicts that compliance with the final rule is expected to annually reduce the discharge of mercury by 5.1 tons! Click here to read more about the EPA’s guidelines here.
Need to purchase an amalgam separator? Check them out on DPS.com.