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EPA Issues Final Rule on Amalgam Discharge from Dental Offices

On December 15, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rule on effluent limitations for dental offices to reduce the discharge of mercury and other metals from dental offices down the sewer drain to publically owned treatment works (POTWs). While the rule takes effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, the compliance date for most dental offices will be three years from now, at the end of 2019.

Under the new rule, dental offices nationwide that place or remove dental amalgam must comply with three specific best management practices for amalgam waste: 1) using of amalgam separators, 2) not flushing amalgam waste down the drain, and 3) prohibiting the use of drain cleaners that may lead to the dissolution of mercury. They must also submit a One-Time Compliance Report. Dental offices that discharge to POTWs but that do not place or remove dental amalgam need only submit a one- time certification.

The new rule does not apply to mobile units or to offices where the practice of dentistry consists only of the following dental specialties: oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, or prosthodontics.

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Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.

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