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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 Laurie.Tenace@dep.state.fl.us 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 email us.

Last updated: July 01, 2014

Permitting and Compliance Assistance Program #850-245-8707 MS #4565


Division of Waste Management #850-245-8705 MS #4500
2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400

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