Though dental amalgam is considered by the American Dental Association as a safe, affordable and durable material for use in filling cavities and restoring teeth, the importance of its proper disposal cannot be understated.
That’s due to the environmental concerns presented by mercury, a chemical element present in amalgam. Dental amalgam is a mix of liquid mercury and a powder that is made up of silver, tin, copper,[...]
With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation on the use of amalgam separators being finalized and the compliance date being set for July 14, 2020, it is definitely time for dental practices to brush up on their knowledge of amalgam separators.
Every dental practice should be familiar with amalgam separators, how they work, how they can differ by type and why they are an important feature of every[...]
Dental offices generate a lot of waste. Some of that waste needs to be disposed of properly and there are regulations in place that ensure this happens.
In dental offices, medical waste falls into several regulated categories include dental amalgam, pharmaceuticals and sharps, among others.
Sharps are the most common medical waste in dental offices, according to AEGIS Dental Network.
Sharps are also the most publicly[...]
Dental amalgam has been a topic of conversation for many years because of one primary ingredient - mercury. Though studies are widely available that show amalgam is absolutely safe for patients and for dentists to use when filling cavities, many patients still have questions.
Dental offices should be prepared to not only address patients questions, but also to understand why recent EPA regulations focus on dental amalgam[...]
Most people know dental amalgam fillings as silver fillings because of the silver color of the material used to fill cavities. It's a very common type of filling because it's durable and effective.
Dental amalgam contains small amounts mercury, though. This is why amalgam waste, in bulk, becomes a concern.
If your dental office doesn't properly handle its amalgam waste, the mercury found in the material could put the[...]
Is your office in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s dental amalgam waste regulations?
As the 2020 compliance deadline approaches, your dental office should be taking significant steps toward achieving compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) dental amalgam rule. The rule manages how to prevent amalgam waste from entering wastewater and sewer systems.
Realizing that proper[...]
For many years, lead was used in all kinds of applications. The oldest known item made using lead is an Egyptian figurine from 4,000 BC!
It took centuries for people to discover that lead actually carries a lot of risks. However, it still has some uses in the modern day, especially in the medical and dental fields.
If you work in a dental office, you'll definitely need to know about proper lead disposal. Not sure how to[...]
The United States passed many of the current environmental protection laws in the 1970s. In 1976, the US passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA. RCRA is one of a handful of environmental statutes that deal with specific types of waste.
Most dentists are aware of laws that require them to properly dispose of biological waste. But did you know that dentists are also subject to RCRA?
Not sure what RCRA is[...]
The proper disposal of medical waste became a concern for the EPA in the 1980s. Materials began showing up on beaches along the east coast that scared the nation.
There are regulations specific to area and state, as well as regulations that fall under the federal rule of EPA. It's important to understand regulations to promote the health of your community and avoid any punitive measures.
We've compiled a list of some[...]
With around 195,722 dentists practicing in the U.S. as of 2012 alone, you can bet there are massive amounts of dental waste being produced.
Is your practice in compliance with all the new regulations for waste management?
If you're not sure, it's time to find out!
We've made it very simple with this guide to understanding dental waste management. Here are 6 common types of dental waste and how you can dispose of them[...]
If the EPA’s recent amalgam ruling isn’t already on your radar, it soon will be. In an effort to reduce the amount of metals such as mercury that end up in municipal sewage treatment plants, most dental offices, clinics, and schools will be required to install amalgam separators as of July 2020. Read on to learn how you may be able to save money while properly complying with the new amalgam[...]
Background of Dental Waste Management Practices
As many of us know, the issue of mercury discharges from amalgam waste impacts nearly every dental office. Research in the United States and other countries has repeatedly demonstrated that dental offices play a significant role in releasing mercury into the environment. Furthermore, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that in[...]
Mercury emissions into the environment, and their concomitant ability to produce disease in humans, have been at the forefront of recent efforts to eliminate the use of dental amalgam as a restorative material. Such a total ban on use is imprudent as the populace of many economically poorer countries simply can’t afford newer materials and technologies.
As a long-term practicing dentist, I have been continually mindful of the potential impacts dentistry can have on the environment. It is for this reason that I have been steadfast in my commitment to properly handling and disposing of all amalgam waste generated at my practice. I have been utilizing an amalgam separator since 2011 and have consequently prevented 2.3 lbs. of mercury from entering the local wastewater system.[...]