U.S. EPA Provides Information on Separator Guidelines


Dental professionals seeking answers to questions regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) dental amalgam separator rule can refer to a series of frequently asked questions now available on the agency’s website.

The series is intended to help dentists comply with the EPA’s issued ruling that requires dental practices nationwide to install amalgam separators. Dental offices also need to follow two best management practices (BMPs) recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). The first prohibits providers from flushing waste amalgam down a drain. The second bans the use of bleach or chlorine-containing cleaners that may lead to the dissolution of solid mercury when cleaning chairside traps and vacuum lines.The rule went into effect on July 24, 2017 for new dental offices that discharge amalgam; however, compliance for most dentists will be July 14, 2020, according to the ADA.

The rule applies to offices, dental schools and clinics, and large institutions where dentistry is practiced that discharge to a publicly owned treatment works. It does not apply to mobile units or offices in which dentistry consists only of the following dental specialties: oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, orthodontics or prosthodontics. Dental offices that do not place dental amalgam and do not remove dental amalgam except in limited emergency or unplanned circumstances are also exempt. Visit tinyurl.com/epa-amalgam for more information.

From MENTOR. March 2018;9(3): 5.

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