Do you know how mercury accumulation in fish is taking place? The environment of sea is getting polluted due to the presence of mercury. After scrutiny, it was identified that dental clinics are the major sources of mercury waste which is polluting the sea water environment. Therefore, the government has come up with very strict regulation for mercury disposal. Dental offices have been asked to take suitable action to reduce amalgam discharge in the sea.
Before we discuss about amalgam separators, let us try to understand about the regulation which is suggested by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As per their suggestion, amalgam may not be too hazardous for consumers, who receive it, however, those workers who are handling mercury have much greater exposure to it. Therefore, these dental workers need more protection.
US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has therefore suggested that all dental clinics must install suitable separator for amalgam while doing their practice. EPA rule covers following three factors.
- The need of using any separator for Amalgam.
- Prohibiting dental clinics to flush away amalgam waste to drain
- Bleach or any cleaner that contain chlorine must not be sparingly used for cleaning chairs and vacuum lines, as it may give rise to solid mercury.
American Dental Association (ADA) has come out with proper management and disposal of various dental wastes. They have suggested the way how amalgam waste can be recycled and restored, how separator for amalgam to be purchased and installed in the dental office. They have also suggested how the separator is to be operated. ADA has also given the procedure for best practices to manage Amalgam waste.
What does Amalgam separator do?
Amalgam separator is a simple equipment which is fitted within the drainage system of every dental clinic. This is meant for trapping dental amalgam waste and segregates it from wastewater, which can be safely allowed to flow to the drain. This separator works in the principle of filtration, sedimentation, centrifugation, and combination of all these to separate mercury from other waste.
Thus, amalgam separator plays a big role in reducing mercury pollution and makes seawater environment much safer. This can also address the biggest concern that was raised by the United Nations convention about mercury contamination.
According to EPA, by using amalgam separator, 99 percent mercury can be properly disposed of. Therefore, it has been suggested to every dental clinic to install ISO 111413 certified separator in their dental office. Also, the dentistry is supposed to verify that these separators will be able to segregate 99 percent mercury by following the instructions given by the manufacturers of the amalgam separator.
ADA experts have also found out that the choice of suitable amalgam separator will be based on the infrastructure of the dental clinic. Therefore, to select any right amalgam separator following factors need to be considered.
- Constraints of the dental clinic/office
- Requirement of space and utility
- Regulatory considerations
- Maintenance facilities
- Effect on other equipment already installed
- Total cost