In February, ATSU-ASDOH decided to take steps toward creating a cleaner environment by having DRNA install amalgam separators in its facilities. Not only does this decision help prevent metals found in dental waste—including mercury—from ending up in sewage treatment plants, but it also places ATSU-ASDOH at the forefront of compliance with new regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA ruling requires most dental offices, as well as dental schools and clinics, to properly recycle dental waste by installing amalgam separators, devices that collect amalgam waste when a cavity is filled or removed. The mercury collected by these devices can then be recycled. Practices have until 2020 to comply, but becoming an early adopter, as ATSU-ASDOH is, can reduce costs and also keep even more harmful mercury out of the environment. “Environmental issues have always been important to us, and when given the opportunity to both comply with the new EPA regulations and prevent mercury from getting into the water supply, we were happy to start recycling,” says Herb Kaufman, DDS, the associate dean of clinic operations at ATSU-ASDOH. “After a thorough analysis of vendors, we determined that Dental Recycling North America had the best end-to-end compliance solution.” Mr. Marc Sussman, CEO of DRNA, stated, “We’d like to commend ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health for its foresight in becoming an early adopter of the new EPA amalgam ruling. By complying early with the federal regulation, they are setting a great example for students and alumni as well as the rest of the dental community.”