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Outreach to Dental Offices - Vermont

Organization(s) Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Project Description In 1999 all Vermont dental offices were sent a copy of a best management practices guide entitled "The Environmentally Responsible Dental Office: A Guide to Proper Waste Management in Dental Offices." As a follow up, the Vermont State Dental Society recently completed an environmental survey of dental offices, attempting to ascertain the extent to which BMPs are being implemented. A summary of the results follows:

-54 percent of 250 dental offices responded to the survey. The majority was familiar with the guide and found it useful. About one quarter of respondents do not use amalgam. Of those using amalgam, the majority use spill capsules and not elemental or free mercury.

Survey results suggest that amalgam usage has decreased significantly over the last several years in favor of non-amalgam substitutes in dental offices responding.

Nearly all dental offices report the use of amalgam traps or screens. Although very few dental offices employ amalgam separators, the majority of offices were interested in receiving information about them.

Vermont DEC drafted a regulatory procedure that will soon be adopted. This procedure requires dental offices to implement best management practices with regard to the management of dental amalgam wastes and other hazardous wastes. In large part, the regulatory procedure follows the recommended BMPs that are in the existing dental guide. The BMPs include the following:

-Prohibits use of (elemental) free mercury, in favor of single use amalgam capsules

-Requires inspection and maintenance of chairside (primary) traps and vacuum pump filters and collection and proper disposal (through recycling or hazardous waste disposal) of all trapped amalgam particles

-Preference for disposable chair side traps due to difficulties of cleaning reusable traps

-Will not require amalgam separators until such time as the Massachusetts Dental Amalgam Separator Project is completed; at that time, will amend the procedure to address requirements for installation, operation and maintenance.

-Will require that sink traps be cleaned by 1/03 and mercury/amalgam particles recycled or disposed as hazardous waste

-Addresses procedure for proper management of X-ray wastes and chemical sterilants

-Requires that dental offices submit biennial certification of compliance with BMP

Project Contact
Name Gary Gulka
Phone 802-241-3626
Project Keywords
Activity Keywords Research and development, Training/workshops
Newsletter Northeast States Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 11 No. 3, Fall 2001 [PDF]


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Last Modified 09/08/2009

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