The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Dental Association (ADA) and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) on Dec. 29, 2008, to establish and monitor the effectiveness of a Voluntary Dental Amalgam Discharge Reduction Program.
"This agreement will help prevent toxic pollution and track environmental progress," said Assistant Administrator Benjamin H. Grumbles. "EPA appreciates the cooperation of dental professionals and wastewater utilities in reducing mercury discharges into sewers and watersheds. We look forward to continued progress with other partners and co-regulators, as well, on the many aspects and challenges of mercury pollution."
The purpose of this MOU is to have dental offices install and properly maintain amalgam separators, and recycle the collected amalgam waste. The program will also establish performance goals, and track the percentage of dental offices that install and use amalgam separators. There has been progress to reduce the discharge of mercury into Publicly Owned Treatment Works from dental offices, but much more can be done through collaboration, innovation and technology. This collaborative effort among EPA, ADA and NACWA will help build awareness and stress the importance of prevention at the local, state, tribal and national levels.