EPA Reinstates Dental Amalgam Rule – What You Need To Know

Amalgam Separators Medical Waste

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) original dental amalgam rule went into effect on July 14. Compliance for most dentists will be July 14, 2020. Here’s what you need to know and do for compliance.

Specifics of the EPA Dental Amalgam Rule

The final rule closely follows the ADA’s best management practices (BMPs), which requires dental practices to do the following:

  • Operate and maintain one or more ISO 11143 compliant amalgam separators.
  • Follow two Best Management Practices (BMP)
    • Must not discharge scrap amalgam waste to POTWs.
    • Must not use line cleaners that have a pH level higher than 8 or lower than 6.

The new rule also meets the nine principles established by the ADA House of Delegates as a condition for ADA support for a national rule.

Dental Practices Affected by the Rule

The EPA rule will affect existing and new dental practices that discharge dental amalgam. Accordingly, dental offices must meet the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) technology-based pretreatment standards for the discharges of pollutants into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).

Dental practices that are not affected

  • Dentists who practice in oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics are exempt from the rule.
  • Dentists who do not place amalgam and only remove amalgam in unplanned or emergency situations (estimated at less than 5 percent of removals) are also exempt.
  • Mobile dental units are exempt.
  • Dentists who already have separators are grandfathered for 10 years before their separators must be compliant with ISO 11143 requirements.

Additional Information

Need to know more information about the dental amalgam rule in detail? Check out other HealthFirst resources:



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