Amalgam Separator Law Update

amalgam separator law update

A couple months ago, we reported about a recent EPA proposed amalgam separator law announcement. The EPA has submitted a rule that requires all dental offices in the nation to reduce their mercury output.

The EPA has proposed a rule that makes all dentists to install an amalgam separator in their office. This is to prevent mercury from entering wastewater. The EPA found that up to 50% of mercury in public water came as a result of dental waste streams. This includes even the dentists who don’t place amalgam fillings. Those dentists contribute by drilling into teeth that have old amalgam fillings. From the wastewater, the EPA reports, the  dental amalgam makes its way to fish, and to crops, posing a hazard to everyone.

To most, this rule is common sense, but there are a lot of questions about enforcement. Also questions is what qualifies as having sufficient amalgam separation in place. At the time, the comment period would end November 25th. The comment period has since been extended
to February 20th, 2015. Some current comments raise concerns about the enforceability of the requirement. They question inspection authority and methods. If you want to leave a comment
for the government, your time is running out.

Many states and counties already have amalgam separator requirements in place. You can reference the following map to see if current laws apply to you.

Bryan is the Product Manager for the Environmental and Infection Control product lines at HealthFirst. Bryan comes with an extensive background in the waste industry and was instrumental in the development of HealthFirst's Sharps Management, Medical Waste Mangement, Amalgam and Pharmaceutical Waste Recovery product lines.


  1. Thank you for sharing this update. With all of the conflicting information I hear about the EPA requirement for installing an amalgam separator, it’s great to have a some clarity.


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