Mercury-Dental: P2 OpportunitiesPrint Friendly Page
The pollution prevention goal with regard to mercury in dental offices is to minimize the amount of mercury that enters the environment. Mercury can enter the environment from a dental office by vaporization into office air during mixing of mercury amalgam, and by disposal of mercury amalgam mixing material and old fillings down the drain or in the regular trash.
One way to minimize the amount of mercury that enters the environment is to use non-mercury products in the dental office. Non-mercury restorative fillings and crowns include composite, glass ionomer, gold foil, cast gold alloy and metal-ceramic crowns. Non-mercury blood pressure devices include aneroid and digital models. Non-mercury alternatives to mercury fever thermometers include digital, indium-gallium-tin and dot matrix thermometers. Non-mercury thermostats include electronic models.
Dentists can implement a mercury pollution prevention program that should include the following:
Specific pollution prevention opportunities and best management practices for mercury in dental offices include the following:
Sources: Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and Massachusetts Dental Society, "Dentistry and the Environment," January 1988; Water Environment Federation, "Controlling Dental Facility Discharges in Wastewater: How to Develop and Administer a Source Control Program," 1999.