In light of recent attention placed on proper disposal of mercury and silver from dental amalgam, here are a few basics rules to keep in mind:
- Consider using composite materials when possible
- To contain waste, consider installing an amalgam separator or chairside traps in your practice.
- Contact the ADEQ Helpline at (501) 682-0923 with any question you may have concerning a proper recycling program in your area.
- When possible, use precapsulated alloys in order to avoid bulk mercury.
- Salvage, store, and recycle all non-contact and scrap amalgam.
- Amalgam from traps, vacuum pump filters, and other collection devices cam be recycled, as well.
- Extracted teeth? Those too. (Just be sure to decontaminate by placing them in glutaraldehyde.)
- Use line cleaners that minimize dissolution of amalgam in line
- Don’t dispose of amalgam in biohazard containers, infections waste containers, or–certainly–regular garbage.
- Don’t rinse amalgam traps, filters, or collection devices over a drain or sink
- Don’t flush amalgam waste down toilet.
- And don’t flush water lines with cleaners containing bleach or chlorine.
WHAT ABOUT X-RAY FIXER DISPOSAL?
- Never, ever, under any circumstances pour spent fixer down the drain. Ever.
- Consider installing a silver recovery unit.
- Or, better yet, give, sell, or pay someone who owns a silver recovery unit to take your fixer. (It’s an easy way to generate a little extra income.)
- At the very least, comply with current state regulations by storing your spent fixer in a closed plastic container marked “Hazardous Waste: Used Filter.”
Download a reference BMP poster here