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Targeting Dental Amalgam Mercury Wastes

Organization(s) Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Dental Society
Project Description In January of 2004, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Dental Society agreed to establish a voluntary program to remove dental amalgam containing mercury from the waste stream. The goal was to reduce the amount of mercury entering wastewater from dental offices by up to 95 percent over the following two years.

In the first year of the voluntary program, 75 percent of the 3,600 Massachusetts dentists that generate waste amalgam that contains mercury certified to MA DEP that they had installed amalgam separators and were recycling their mercury waste. The Agency estimated that 200 pounds of mercury were removed from the waste stream as a result of this program.

Dental practices that participated in the voluntary program by January 31, 2005 are exempt from DEP regulations relating to the installation, operation, maintenance, and upgrading of amalgam separation systems and related fees until February 1, 2010. Because over 50 percent of Massachusetts dentists that generate waste mercury amalgam complied with the voluntary program, the remaining dentists are eligible for an exemption until 2007 if they install separators and file certifications in the second year of the voluntary program.

In March of 2006, MA DEP promulgated regulations requiring dental facilities to install amalgam separators, collect all their waste amalgam (from separators, screens, and traps), and recycle all the collected waste amalgam.

More Info www.mass.gov/dep/erp/dentists.htm
Project Contact
Name John Reinhardt
Phone 617-292-5667
Project Keywords
Areas of P2 Expertise Environmental Management Systems, Multimedia Inspections & Permitting
Industrial Sectors Health Care and Hospitals
Activity Keywords Policy/Legislative


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Last Modified 09/08/2009

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