Dental Amalgam Rule

​Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid (elemental) mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Approximately 50% of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish. Mercury-containing amalgam wastes may find their way into the environment when new fillings are placed or old mercury-containing fillings are drilled out and waste amalgam materials that are flushed into chair-side drains enter the wastewater stream. If improperly managed by dental offices, dental amalgam waste can be released into the environment. Although most dental offices currently use some type of basic filtration system to reduce the amount of mercury solids passing into the sewer system, dental offices are the single largest source of mercury at sewage treatment plants according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Dental Amalgam 
Mercury • Silver Copper 
Can Include Other Trace Metals 
Tin

The Environmental Protection Agency Dental Amalgam Rule

On June 9, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency enacted the Dental Amalgam Rule in an effort to reduce the amount of mercury introduced to the environment by dental amalgam. The rule is effective on July 14, 2017. The date that existing dental facilities subject to the rule must comply with the standards in the rule is July 14, 2020. 

The final rule applies to dental facilities that discharge to the City of Phoenix sewer system from where the practice of dentistry is performed, including large institutions such as dental schools and clinics; permanent or temporary offices, home offices, and facilities; and including dental offices owned and operated by federal, state, or local governments including military bases. 

The rule requires dental offices to install and operate an amalgam separators(s), to implement two Best Management Practices (BMPs), and to submit a One-time Compliance Report to the Control Authority. City of Phoenix Environmental Services Division is the Control Authority for all dental facilities that discharge to the City of Phoenix sanitary sewer. Thereafter, the dental office will be required to conduct ongoing operation and maintenance and maintain associated records. These activities can be facilitated by third parties such as dental office suppliers and amalgam separator manufacturers.