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Properly Handling Dental Amalgam Waste to Prevent Waste Water Contamination

Dentistry is a leading source of mercury discharge into waste water. At our office, we recently installed the M.A.R.S. LibertyBOSS Amalgam Separator. This new piece of environmentally conscience equipment is a device which traps, or separates, amalgam fragments from dental office waste water, thus reducing the amount of amalgam and the mercury it contains. The use of an amalgam separator is thought to capture at least 99% of potentially harmful mercury from entering the sewage system.

Amalgam is a metal substance used for fillings which includes mostly silver, mercury, tin and copper. Without an amalgam separator, most of the mercury amalgam in a soluble or dissolved form is released directly towards our community's water treatment plants. The mercury can then flow from the water treatment plant, into our waterways, and then directly into large bodies of water that we use for food (fish or other wildlife), irrigation (farming) and supplying our homes. Bioaccumulation can then occur. This means that anything that lives, eats or uses a contaminated body of water will absorb the toxins (mercury in this case) in its surroundings. Our goal with adding the amalgam separator to our office is to comply with standards and to not contribute to contaminating the environment.

Since our dentists agree that amalgam is still a useful and safe material when used properly in certain cases, it is very important to us that we handle amalgam waste in an environmentally friendly manner. Our dentists recommend only replacing amalgam fillings when they are worn, broken or when there is decay beneath the filling. There's no evidence that they can cause a problem. Removing good amalgam fillings results in unnecessary loss of healthy parts of the tooth and can release more mercury.

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Maintain your healthy smile, secure in the knowledge we're doing what we can to minimize the associated waste water contamination.