Is Your Office EPA Compliant?
In June 2017, the EPA issued the final ruling requiring dental offices to acquire amalgam separators. This applies to all general dentistry offices except those which do not place amalgam and only remove it in emergency situations. This final rule was effective 7-14-17 and applied to all new offices opening after that date. For existing offices, compliant equipment must be in place by July 14, 2020.
Dental amalgam has been shown to contribute 50% of the mercury in U.S. waterways. Under the Clean Water Act of 1972, mercury is considered a toxic pollutant. Mercury contamination, like lead contamination, is a serious environmental threat. The damaging effects of mercury are well-documented and cause considerable damage in both children and adults, including cognitive impairment, loss of peripheral vision, and impairment of speech, hearing and movement.
While there have long been dental best practices for handling amalgam waste, adherence was mostly voluntary. Only 12 states (Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) required amalgam separators prior to 2017. The remaining 38 states’ general dentistry offices must have compliant amalgam separators by July 14, 2020.
Here are some facts you need to know before purchasing an amalgam separator for your office – or if you already have one, to be sure you are compliant with the new regulation:
- The standard for compliance is ISO 11143:2008. (link ISO number to https://www.iso.org/standard/42288.html)
- A one-time compliance report must be sent to the EPA by July 14, 2020.
- Three years’ of records must be kept available for inspection.
- Waste disposal logs for the amalgam gathered must be kept, signed, and dated.
- The amalgam separator must be inspected regularly and the results logged with date and name of inspector.
- Manufacturer’s instructions for the device must be kept and made available for inspection.
- Specialty practices such as oral pathologists, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics are exempted from this rule.
- Dental practices which had an amalgam separator as of July 14, 2017 are grandfathered in until 2027 with regard to ISO requirements, but will still be subject to reporting and inspection requirements.
At DES Dental, we only sell the SolmeteX® NXT Hg5 amalgam separator because we believe it is the best product available. It is ISO 11143 compliant, allows for visual inspection of the system, is easy to clean, and requires no daily maintenance, tools or decanting. It is always our pleasure to train staff on proper usage of any devices we sell, and we can also guide you on record-keeping. Get the customer service and support you need and deserve with DES Dental.