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EPA Requires Amalgam Separators by 2019

Because endodontists routinely remove fillings, they will be required to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule requiring the use of amalgam separators in dental offices. The rule is aimed at reducing mercury in water supplies. Most dentists must be in compliance date by the end of 2019.

The EPA rule has resulted in questions from AAE members concerned that it bans the use of bleach in dental treatment. It does not. The EPA rule does require implementation of best management practices, including a provision that “dental unit water lines, chair-side traps, and vacuum lines that discharge amalgam process wastewater to a POTW must not be cleaned with oxidizing or acidic cleaners, including but not limited to bleach, chlorine, iodine and peroxide that have a pH lower than 6 or greater than 8.”

The ADA worked with the EPA to develop the rule, and in a statement, ADA President Gary L. Roberts said, “The ADA believes the Environmental Protection Agency’s new federal regulation represents a fair and reasonable approach to the management of dental amalgam waste.”