Dental waste isnīt the largest source of hazardous mercury dumped in the environment, but itīs significant enough to have caught the attention of the government and politicians. Itīs also on the radar of the American Dental Association.
Both the public sector and private sector are expressing their commitment to reducing mercury from dental waste. As is often the case, the debate is over whether the most effective solution is one developed by business or through government intervention.
The dental mercury is used in fillings, and the concern is with the waste that can end up in the water. It can also end up in the air because of increased use of cremation for the deceased, who also have more teeth these days than in the past.
The ADA has pledged a voluntary 65% increase in the use of separators to capture more mercury waste. Many dentists also are phasing out the use of mercury fillings. A spokesman for the group said increased regulation would mean higher costs for the dental industry and the government, and ultimately for the customer and taxpayer.
The dental industry should get a fair shot to address the issue itself before the government pursues costly regulation. And the dental industry must take advantage of such an opportunity and make real progress, because now they know the government is watching.
(June 7 issue)