There’s even more good news from the fight for a mercury-free future. Here in the US, the Environmental Protection Agency has at last finalized standards to limit mercury pollution from dental offices.
The new rule will require all offices that place or remove amalgam to
- Install amalgam separators that meet EPA standards or replace any current separators that fall short.
- Collect and recycle scrap amalgam.
- Clean chairside traps with non-chlorine, non-bleach cleanser to avoid releasing mercury.
- Submit a compliance report and have maintenance and inspection records available.
The new regulations will go into effect soon, with compliance mandatory by the end of 2019.
Suffice it to say, this will be a big help in reducing mercury pollution. As Dr. Bicuspid notes,
More than 100,000 practices in the U.S. use or remove amalgam, according to the EPA. About 5.1 tons of mercury each year is discharged through wastewater lines to municipal treatment plants from these offices, and it is subsequently released into the environment. Dental offices are the main source of mercury discharge to these municipal treatment plants, the agency noted.
And, as we mentioned last week, waste water is just one path mercury can take.
The long-term solution, of course, is to finally stop using this antiquated, toxic material.
But this particular short-term solution is a most welcome gift this holiday season.
All of us here at Dr. Erwin’s office wish you an amazing holiday season and a happy, healthy new year! We’ll see you back here in January.