Mercury from dental amalgam waste accounts for an estimated ten-to-fifteen-percent of environmental mercury pollution. Whenever silver-mercury amalgam fillings are placed or removed, mercury waste is generated. Most of the amalgam filling pieces are suctioned up into dental office waterlines, allowing these mercury-containing particles to enter into our water supply. Additionally, leftover mercury scraps from fillings are often thrown into the garbage.
This environmental hazard is now a global concern.
Since Dr. Shvartsman does not use mercury amalgam fillings, he does not generate any new mercury waste. However, Dr. Shvartsman frequently removes mercury amalgam fillings from his patient’s mouths. Using a technique called “chunking”, outlines by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), Dr. Shvartsman carefully sections the filling into large pieces and disposes of them in an environmentally-safe manner.
The amalgam filling's dust and debris are suctioned up and then collected by an amalgam separator device.
Amalgam separators are installed downstream in dental waterlines in order to collect mercury amalgam debris, so it does not enter into our water system and environment. Effective as of May 12, 2006, New York State requires that all dental facilities have amalgam separators installed in their waterlines. Unfortunately, there is very limited oversight of this law, and most dental offices still do not have amalgam separators due to cost and labor. However, Dr. Shvartsman had an amalgam separator installed during the construction of his dental office, and he has been using the device ever since!
Amalgam separators are an excellent line of defense against mercury contamination in our drinking water.