What Is an Amalgam Separator?: Since mercury pollution is a significant concern to lend weight to a United Nations Convention, amalgam separators serve a vital function in minimizing mercury contamination. Although dental facilities have already been equipped with amalgam separators, a significant percentage of Australian dental clinics operate without these front-line fighters in the battle against industrial mercury pollution. Across the USA, dental facilities are major contributors to mercury in water treatment facilities. Proposals are underway to require all orthodontic practices to introduce amalgam separators, a policy that should also be implemented in Australia.
What is an amalgam separator?
The amalgam separator is a mercury filtering system between the user and a vacuum pump — usually in the machine room. Dental wastewater runs via the vacuum pipe and goes through the amalgam separator, where dental amalgam, fragments of teeth, and mercury are collected and stored. Filtered water keeps flowing while it keeps away significant pollution and pollutants.
What is the importance of an amalgam separator?
Amalgam separators are basic, non-mechanical equipment that is a part of a dental care sewer system. As the term suggests, an amalgam separator aims to catch orthodontic amalgam material and extract it off the sewage so it can be appropriately drained into the sewers. The installation of the amalgam separator is just half the case, while the other half is upkeep. Amalgam separators will eventually fill up and lose its efficiency. Unfortunately, many dental facilities drain their separators with all the different waste they produce. Not only will this negate the entire point of using amalgam separators, but this also poses a public health risk to the medical team and, possibly, to clients.
How to choose an amalgam separator?
The Department of Ecology, State of Washington, has outlined the critical factors to be addressed before picking an amalgam separator. Efficiency, fail-safe systems, and being “hands-off” are crucial considerations, but two things stand out. Firstly, the amalgam separator should conform to the international standard ISO 11143. This order lays out specifications to guarantee the safety and efficiency of the equipment, while also providing guidelines for the installation and servicing of the amalgam filter. Second, as the Department of Ecology suggests, we need to recycle the collected amalgam. It is basic decency, actually, and the best way to guarantee that we keep mercury off the environment.
The Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) is endorsing calls for the Australian Government to start a nationwide outreach initiative. It calls for the widespread deployment of dental amalgam material traps and separators. These propositions are connected to the country’s probable enactment of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international agreement drawn up to safeguard human health and the environment from the element’s harmful effects. Dental amalgam is one of the most prominent causes of mercury pollution as per the ADIA, so it’s best to be safe than to uphold the law.
The efficiency of amalgam separators has now been recognized, and laws have been enforced throughout the globe. The amalgam separator was shown to be a cost-effective solution for the disposal of 50 percent or more mercury levels. However, irrespective of the statistical data, it is clear that using amalgam separators in orthodontic facilities is necessary throughout every dental operation in Australia.