Solmetex Supports New Amalgam Separator Regulations

Dentistry Today


Solmetex, which produces the Hg5 series of amalgam separators, has announced its support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Dental Category, which requires dental offices in all 50 states to comply with a new standard for disposing of amalgam waste. Originally signed into the Federal Register on December 16, 2016, it has been under review with the current presidential administration and will now go into effect on July 14.

“We are very excited by the passage of the EPA’s dental rule,” said Michael Toole, vice president of sales and marketing at Solmetex. “This regulation will greatly reduce the amount of mercury present in the waste water. Solmetex is committed to being a comprehensive resource in helping dentists be part of this process in making them compliant.”  

Dental offices now are required to install an ISO 11143:2008 certified amalgam separator or an ANSI/ADA Standard No. 108 certified amalgam separator at a separation rate of 95%. Also, offices will be required to use amalgam waste buckets as defined by best management practices for the proper disposal of contact/noncontact amalgam items such as vacuum traps and amalgam capsules. Line cleaners must have a pH between 6 and 8.

The regulation applies nationwide to dental offices that remove or replace amalgam restorations. Existing offices now have 3 years to install a certified amalgam separator, and new dental practices have 90 days to install one. Dental offices that already have an amalgam separator will have 10 years to comply and ensure they have an ISO 11143:2008 certified amalgam separator or an ANSI/ADA Standard No. 108 certified amalgam separator at a separation rate of 95%.

Previously, only 11 states had mandated the use of amalgam separators. The new regulation applies to offices, including large institutions such as dental schools and clinics, that discharge to publicly owned treatment works. It does not apply to mobile units or offices where the practice of dentistry consists only of oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, or prosthodontics.

“The passage of this rule brings attention to a greater environmental issue that will naturally put the dentist in an even more positive light from the perspective of their patients,” said Nick Mozzicato, chief executive officer at Solmetex. “It will relay the message that the dental practice not only cares for their healthcare but also the environment that we all share.”

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