Mercury in Medical Facilities
Health facilities have had the opportunity to make significant changes in the last two decades regarding mercury
use. Alternatives to mercury-containing products and changes in purchasing policies have led to less frequent
mercury spills and better waste management policies. A good example has been the conversion from old mercury-containing
sphygmomanometers (blood pressure devices) to aneroid types containing no hazardous materials. Changes like that
create a safer environment for medical staff and patients while being more protective of the environment.
The following links can help your facility eliminate mercury-containing products and properly manage the ones that remain.
For information specific to mercury management in Florida, please contact
or (850) 245-8759.
Mercury in Dental Offices
The Florida Dental Association, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,
and the Florida Department of Health developed best management practices (BMPs) for the handling of scrap
amalgam from dental offices. Dental amalgam, sometimes referred to as silver fillings, is a composite of mercury,
silver, and tin that is used to fill cavities in teeth. Excess dental amalgam, teeth with fillings, and amalgam
traps must be recycled or disposed of properly and should NOT be disposed of in the trash, red bags, or with
other biomedical waste. The two page BMPs give detailed instructions for managing scrap dental amalgam. These
voluntary guidelines were developed to help dental offices handle and recycle the mercury in amalgams in
compliance with applicable environmental, biomedical, occupational health and transportation regulations. The
DEP has determined that, as of August 2001, compliance with these voluntary management practices will also
constitute compliance with DEP, DOH, FL DOT and US OSHA regulations that apply to scrap dental amalgam. If you
choose not to manage scrap dental amalgam in accordance with these voluntary management practices, it is your
responsibility to assure that your facility operates in compliance with all regulations. For specific BMPs
supporting documentation from various government agencies please review the BMPs appendices. A list of audited
dental amalgam recyclers is also available below.
Dental Lead Foil Recycling
The lead foil backings from intraoral dental x-ray film should be recycled, not placed in the trash, red bags or sharps containers. For information about recycling, please