Tips for Mercury Amalgam Recycling By working with a

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					Tips for Mercury Amalgam Recycling
By working with a waste amalgam vendor, dental professionals
can take advantage of an easy, cost effective, and environmentally
                                                                                    AMALGAM RECYCLING IS EASY!                                          DENTAL MERCURY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
friendly way to dispose of mercury-containing waste amalgam.                        The specific procedure for recycling varies from                      A FACT SHEET FOR PUEBLO DENTISTS
This may involve storing waste amalgam in a secure plastic                          vendor to vendor; however, the procedure for general
container and mailing the waste or scheduling waste pick-up by                      recycling is the same among recyclers and is easy.
                                                                                                                                                     This fact sheet, created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in
the vendor. Types of mercury-containing amalgam that may be                                                                                          cooperation with the Colorado Dental Association (CDA), the Pueblo City-County Health Department
                                                                                         1. Order and pay for recycling container(s)
recyclable include:                                                                                                                                  (PCCHD), and the City of Pueblo (Pueblo), presents information related to dental mercury and the
                                                                                            – Container size depends on waste amalgam
        • Empty amalgam capsules                                                              generation rate                                        environment. It describes the regulatory outlook for Colorado dentists with respect to waste mercury
        • Contact and non-contact amalgam                                                   – Payment usually includes cost for                      amalgam and provides Colorado-specific information and resources regarding mercury amalgam
        • Filters and waste from chair-side traps                                             container, recycling, and shipping to and              separators and waste amalgam recycling.
        • Filters and waste from vacuum pumps                                                 from the recycling facility
        • Extracted teeth with amalgam fillings                                          2. Follow recycler instructions for storing waste
        • Amalgam sludge
Refer to the inserted dental mercury pollution prevention
                                                                                            amalgam on-site
                                                                                         3. Ship to recycling facility when full
                                                                                                                                                                          Dental Mercury & The Environment
checklist for BMPs related to waste amalgam recycling.                                   4. Order new container(s) when
                                                                                            current container(s) are nearly full                     When mercury from medical, industrial, commercial, or household sources ends up in Colorado’s
                                                                                                                                                     lakes, rivers, and streams, microorganisms convert some portion of this mercury into methylmercury,
                                                                                                                                                     a toxic compound. Methlymercury bioaccumulates in fish, and presents a health risk to the humans
          Recycler             Cost                                         Amalgam Recycling Vendors                                                and wildlife that consume the fish.1
                                                                            Many waste amalgam vendors operate nationally and
 Amalgaway                            $99.95 for 1-gallon                                                                                            Dental offices contribute to the release of mercury to surface water through normal operating practices
                                                                            can provide cost effective, convenient service to Pueblo
 (800) 267-1467                       $112.00 for 2.5 gallon (trap
                                                                            dentists. Some vendors and costs are listed in Table 3.                  that involve handling and disposal of mercury-containing waste amalgams. The bioavailability of
                                      filters) Includes container,
                                      shipping and recycling                Additional vendors are listed in ADA’s February 2003                     mercury contained in waste amalgam is currently under study, and therefore the relative contribution
                                                                            Best Management Practices for Amalgam Waste.                             of “dental mercury” to the greater mercury problem is unknown. Nonetheless, CDPHE, CDA, PCCHD,
 Dental Recyclers of North            $125 for 1-gallon                                                                                              and Pueblo have joined other states in taking a precautionary approach to the handling and disposal of
 America                              $200 for 2-gallons                    Amalgam separation and mercury amalgam recycling                         waste dental amalgam.
 (800) 360-1001                       $400 for 5-gallons                    can be cost effective in safely removing amalgam
                                      Plus free amalgam                     particles from dental office wastewater. These methods
                                      included with each order
 SolmeteX                             $100 for 1/2-gallon
                                                                            should be used in Colorado dental offices as a means of
                                                                            managing dental office waste in an environmentally
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Regulatory Outlook
 (510) 393-5115                                                             friendly way. Even in tiny quantities, mercury harms
                                                                            the environment. The point is not how much dental                        On the federal level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an extensive mercury
 Rebec                                $169 for 1-gallon                                                                                              program that has focused to date, on utilities, health care, medical waste, thermometers, and schools.
 (800) 569-1088                                                             offices contribute to the source of mercury in lakes and
                                                                            streams, but that dental offices have the means to                       Across the nation, state and local governments are developing and implementing programs and
 Bethlehem Apparatus                  $238.00 per 2-quart kit               dramatically minimize the amount of amalgam                              regulations that address mercury, including the management of waste dental mercury amalgam.
 Company                              Does not include shipping             discharged through their office wastewater by capturing                  For example, Maine enacted legislation requiring dentists to install mercury amalgam separators
 (610) 838-7034                                                             and disposing of their dental mercury through the                        by December 31, 2004. New York requires dentists to recycle all mercury-containing waste.
                                                                            practices presented in this fact sheet. For more                         Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington all have proposed amalgam-
 AERC Recycling Solutions             $75.00 per 1-gallon pail                Does not include shipping             information regarding dental mercury, contact Diane                      related legislation.
 (800) 554-2372                                                             Brunson with CDPHE Oral Health Program at                                In Colorado, state agencies regulate wastewater treatment plants, which in turn have the authority to
                                                                            (303) 692-2428 or                             regulate businesses and industries that discharge pollutants to wastewater upstream of the plant. The
CDPHE, CDA, PCCHD, and Pueblo do not recommend, endorse, or certify the services of any particular company or device mentioned in this fact sheet.   City of Fort Collins, Colorado, initiated legislation to require all dentists in the city to install amalgam
References:                                                             greater by amalgam separators.
                                                                                                                                                     separators. The City of Fort Collins water board passed the initiative in March 2004. The City of Fort
1 EPA Mercury Website:                              5 Fan, P.L., Batchu, Hanu, Chou, Hwai-Nan, Gasparac, William,                Collins wastewater treatment plant plans to present the initiative to the City Council for a vote in June
2 Dental Mercury Pollution Prevention Phase 1 Summary Report,           Sandrik, Jim, and Meyer, Daniel M., Laboratory evaluation of                 2004. In Pueblo, efforts are underway to promote a cost-effective voluntary mercury management
CDPHE 2004. This report is available in it’s entirety at:               amalgam separators, JADA, Vol. 133, May 2002.                             6 Mcmanus, Kevin R., Fan, P.L., Purchasing, installing and operating
                                                                                                                                                     program among area dentists to potentially avoid future permitting requirements.
3 Assessment of Mercury in the Form of Amalgam in Dental                dental amalgam separators practical issues, JADA, Vol. 134, August
Wastewater in Colorado. ENVIRON International Corporation.              2003, pp. 1054-1065.
December 3, 2003.                                                       7 Best Management Practices for Amalgam Waste. ADA. February                                                                                                   City of
4 ISO 11143 requires a mercury removal efficiency of 95 percent or      2004.
May 2004                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              May 2004
                                                                                                                       TABLE 2: AMALGAM SEPARATOR COST, OPERATION, AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
                                               Best Management Practices                                                                                  Purchase              Estimated Annual Operation
                                                      for Amalgam Waste                                                  Amalgam Separator                Cost                  & Maintenance Costs
                                                                                                                         SolometeX Hg5®*                  $695          Replacement Cartridges: $250 with
           Dental care professionals can effectively reduce mercury releases to Colorado’s surface waters by                                  recycling, replacement, and shipping.
           using best management practices (BMPs) in their offices. Refer to the insert for a score sheet of                                                            Check sediment levels in cartridge monthly.
           mercury amalgam BMPs for dental offices. Two important mercury management practices are mercury                                                              Replace when sediment reaches “full line.”
           amalgam separators and amalgam recycling.                                                                                                      $1,500 to
                                                                                                                         Guardian Amalgam                               $750 to $1,000 replacement cartridge kit
                                                                                                                         Collector *                      $3,225        with recycling. Change collector annually.
                                                                                                                                         This service is provided by the manufacturer
                                          Mercury Amalgam Separators                                                                                                    for a fee ($750).

                                                                                                                         Rebec CatchHg *                  $925 to       1 year no maintenance. $395 yearly
           A wide variety of mercury control equipment is available to dentists, and this equipment varies greatly           $1,780        replacement cost with recycling. Change
           in cost and in ability to capture mercury-containing amalgam before it can be discharged to wastewater.                                                      collector annually. This service is provided
           In December 2003, CDPHE surveyed 59 dentists and 51 dental practices in Pueblo to gather data on                                                             by the manufacturer for a fee.
           the techniques used for handling and disposing of waste amalgam.2 Survey results presented in                 BullfroHgc                       $695          $450 for annual recycling. Change collector
           Table 1 show that many Pueblo dentists (32 percent of all respondents) rely on the least effective                   annually.
           equipment (a chair side trap without a vacuum or other secondary filter) to capture mercury-containing        ADA Technologies, Inc.
           amalgam wastes.                                                                                               Craig Turchi: 303-792-5615

           Mercury Amalgam Seporator Performance and Vendors
           Amalgam separators are designed to remove amalgam particles from wastewater in the dental office            * Contact:     Patterson Dental Supply, Scott Connolly, 303-393-1081 OR
                                                                                                                                      Burkhart Dental Supply Company, Scott Plantenberg, 800-447-2845
           before the wastewater is discharged to a wastewater treatment plant. Removing amalgam using an
           amalgam separator is preferable to discharging to a wastewater treatment plant because waste amalgam        Most amalgam recyclers either request that dentists mail replaceable cartridges in packaging provided
           captured in an amalgam separator can and should be recycled. Waste mercury sent to wastewater               by the manufacturer to a recycling facility or that manufacturers technicians handle cartridge
           treatment plants in Colorado is not captured for recycling and is eventually released to the environment.   replacement and waste removal.
           Amalgam separators remove particles using one or more physical and chemical processes, including
           sedimentation, centrifugation, filtration, and ion exchange. Amalgam particles range in size from
                                                                                      0.45 micrometers (µm) to
                                                                                      3,000 µm (3mm) in diameter,
                                                                                                                                                     Recycling Mercury Amalgam
            Mercury Removal                       Respondents Removal                 most separators remove
            Equipment                                                Efficiency       particles larger than 100 µm     In February 2004, ADA published Best Management Practices for Amalgam Waste.7 In this document,
            Chair-side trap only                       32%              68%3          diameter.5                       ADA strongly recommends recycling as a BMP for dental offices. Furthermore, ADA states “amalgam
            Chair-side and secondary filter            66%              81%4                                           should not be disposed of in the garbage, infectious waste ‘red bag,’ or sharps container… because
                                                                                      Amalgam separators are           some communities incinerate municipal garbage, medical waste, and sludge from wastewater treatment
            Amalgam separator                           2%             >96%4          typically designed for in-line   plants.” When amalgam waste is incinerated, mercury can be released to the environment due to the
                                                                                      installation between the         extremely high temperatures used in the incineration process. Mercury released to the atmosphere is
           dental operatories and the vacuum pump. Some amalgam separators are located within the chair-side           deposited to land and surface water.
           trap. Many separators rely on gravity flow to move the dental office wastewater; however, some units
           include pumps that control the rate of wastewater flow through the mercury amalgam separator.               Survey results based on the December 2003 survey of Pueblo dentists conducted by CDPHE2 show
                                                                                                                       that most Pueblo dentists recycle scrap amalgam. However, mercury-containing extracted teeth, empty
           Amalgam separators must be at least 95 percent effective in removing amalgam particles to be certified      amalgam capsules, screens, traps, and filters are commonly disposed of as medical waste or forms of
           under the performance standard (ISO11143) developed by the International Organization for                   disposal other than recycling such as trash, sink, and hazardous waste. These results indicate that
           Standardization. Dentists are encouraged to select only amalgam separators that are ISO11143-certified.     Pueblo dentists have an extraordinary opportunity to increase waste amalgam recycling.
           Certified amalgam separators are available to Pueblo dentists through local distributors listed in Table
           2. Additional amalgam separators are listed in Journal of ADA (JADA) article Purchasing, Installing
           and Operating Dental Amalgam Separators.6
                                                                                                                                                                      City of

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May 2004                                                                                                                                                                                                          May 2004

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