Mercury in Medical Facilities: Between 1997-1999,The Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste
Management sponsored research investigating the use and waste management of mercury-containing devices
and other products in medical facilities. Project objectives included field-testing Best Management
Practices (BMPs) and mercury management and reduction strategies at 10 hospitals (i.e. identifying and
purchasing alternative products and materials with less or no mercury, recycling mercury and mercury-containing
products and devices, and training personnel about mercury's use in medical facilities). The following
are three reports summarizing this research.
Mercury in Dental Offices
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.
Scrap Dental Amalgam Recyclers
What about recycling dental x-ray lead foil? The lead foil backings from intraoral dental x-ray film should be
recycled, not placed in the trash.
At least one film supplier has a recycling program.
The Department of Environmental Protection welcomes information from other dental film/equipment suppliers and
recyclers on their lead foil recycling programs. Please
for more information.