The Environmentally Responsible Dentist - Dental Amalgam Recycling: Principles, Pathways and Practice

Format Publication ID Version Published
Presentation 8435 1 July 26, 2011
Marquette University School of Dentistry

Description

Marquette University’s School of Dentistry, along with the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a teaching module to educate dental students on proper dental amalgam waste management. The module aims to raise dental students’ awareness of the dental amalgam waste issue and to provide the students with practical steps to reduce the release of amalgam waste to the environment. Dental amalgam waste is a significant contributor of mercury discharges to municipal wastewater treatment facilities, often referred to as “publicly-owned treatment works” (POTWs). While POTWs have a high efficiency rate of removing amalgam from wastewaters (around 90%), a small amount of waste amalgam is discharged from POTWs into surface waters around the plants. Dental offices were found in 2003 to have been the source of 50% of all mercury pollution entering POTWs. In 2008, EPA estimated that dentists discharge approximately 3.7 tons of mercury each year to POTWs.

Citation

Stafford G. The Environmentally Responsible Dentist - Dental Amalgam Recycling: Principles, Pathways and Practice. MedEdPORTAL; 2011. Available from: www.mededportal.org/publication/8435

Educational Objectives

  1. To review a brief history of Amalgam.
  2. To appreciate both national and international related dental amalgam actions.
  3. To gain an understanding of mercury in dental amalgam.
  4. To be able to describe current governmental regulation of amalgam.
  5. To recognize the extent of dental amalgam use in the United States.
  6. To explain environmental fate and transport mechanisms of amalgam.
  7. To learn effective environmentally responsible practices.

Keywords

  • Methylmercury Compounds (MeSH), Mercury Poisoning (MeSH), Amalgam

Specialty

  • Dental
    • Dental

Competencies Addressed

  • Medical
    • Practice-based Learning & Improvement

Academic Focus

  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Skills/Doctoring

Professional Interest

  • Environmental Health
  • Instructional Materials/Methods
  • Practice Management

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Dental Student
  • Professional School Post-Graduate Training
    • Resident

Instructional Methods

  • Independent Study
  • Lecture

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