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What you should know about the state of safe disposal of dental mercury

Mary Otto

Dental amalgam is the material at the center of the National Resources Defense Council’s mercury rule lawsuit.

It is a mixture of mercury and powdered metals, such as silver, tin, copper and zinc, that is defined and regulated as a medical device by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While dental amalgam has been found to emit low levels of mercury vapor, it is considered safe for most dental patients over the age 6. The current FDA rules on amalgam safety date from 2009. However, health officials worldwide long have had serious concerns about the environmental impact when amalgam waste is disposed of after a procedure.

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