is the recycling of all materials back into nature or the marketplace in a manner that protects human health and the environment.


Dental Recycling North America, Inc. - MERCURY RECYCLING

By Robert M. Donnelly, President - Dental Recycling North America, Inc.(DRNA), PO Box 1069,Hackensack, NJ 07601, 201-489-4436(Fax)4740

"Conservatively, between 40 and 50 tons of mercury are discharged to the air and water from 100,000 dental offices throughout the U.S. every year.

Dentists create mercury bearing amalgam waste when they drill out old mercury amalgam fillings. Most of this toxic waste is captured in coarse filters in the dental operatory. These coarse filters have to be cleaned or replaced frequently or they will clog and the dentist will lose suction.

Unfortunately, in many dental offices this hazardous waste is thrown in the trash or put in the biowaste containers for incineration. The mercury bearing amalgam waste in fine particulate gets past these filters and goes down the drain into the sewer, or dentists septic, system. All of these waste streams eventually discharge the mercury in the amalgam waste into the air and water in every community where there is a dental office or clinic.

This is particularly dangerous where mercury accumulates over years in septic systems because eventually it can leach into surrounding ground waters and potentially pollute household drinking water wells, underground streams that lead to lakes and rivers, and other larger bodies of water. Another consideration is what happens when these dental septic tanks have to be cleaned out? Where does all the mercury bearing amalgam waste go?"