NSF to Host Meeting on ISO Standard for Dental Amalgam Separators

Expert panel to discuss legislation for devices that help remove mercury from dental office wastewater

NSF Intl. will hold an informational meeting on dental amalgam separators and certification to ISO Standard 11143 on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the NSF Intl. Headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The discussion will cover what regulators, wastewater professionals, policy makers and dentists need to know about the requirements for amalgam separators and the importance of certification of amalgam separators in removing dental amalgam, a major source of mercury in wastewater. A lab tour and luncheon will follow the informational meeting.

An expert panel with representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Dental Association (MDA) and industry will discuss existing regulations and the impact that ISO 11143 will have on the dental industry. NSF technical staff will address a range of technical questions related to the testing and certification of this product category. The first amalgam separator manufacturer to be NSF Certified to ISO 11143, DRNA, will also provide insights on the overall certification process.

Amalgam separators meeting the requirements of ISO 11143 must demonstrate removal of at least 95% of the released amalgam particles so that they do not enter the sewage system. ISO 11143 specifies performance requirements and test methods for amalgam separators used with dental equipment in a dental treatment center. NSF Certification of an amalgam separator demonstrates compliance with all ISO 11143 requirements, and annual surveillance audits at the manufacturing facility ensure continued compliance with the ISO standard.

Environmental concerns regarding the use and disposal of dental amalgam have been raised because of its mercury content. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals (silver, tin, mercury, etc.) used to fill cavities due to its durable physical properties. Amalgam separators are devices that help reduce the amalgam content in dental office wastewater discharge. New state and local regulations are emerging that require control of dental waste discharges into publicly owned treatment works. NSF Certification to the ISO standard offers an effective way to provide assurance that these separators will perform and continue to meet the requirements set forth in the standard. NSF is accredited by the International Accreditation Service (IAS) to test to the ISO 11143 standard.

To attend or participate in this informational meeting, please email dental@nsf.org.

NSF International

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