Disposing of Amalgam and the regulations around Mercury Home / News / Disposing of Amalgam and the regulations around Mercury
Posted on 7 June 2024

It seems like there is an amalgam crisis in UK dentistry. Dentists have to be careful about disposing of amalgam, and they can no longer use this preferred material for fillings. Amalgam has fantastic longevity and efficiency, whereas the alternatives are more time-consuming to place and significantly more expensive.

Is the amalgam in fillings bad for you?

Amalgam fillings pose a very low and insignificant health risk due to the very low levels of potential mercury vapor release. Pregnant women, young children, and those with kidney problems or hypersensitivity to mercury are advised to avoid or minimize the use of amalgam fillings due to potential risks. This does all seem a little overkill. Not sure how you find out you have a “hypersensitivity to mercury”.

Is amalgam bad for the environment?

There is a potential for the mercury in the amalgam to be released into the environment, which is bad. Mercury is a highly toxic and persistent metal so it can do damage and is difficult to remove.

Has the regulation for the disposal of amalgam changed?

Yes the regulation for the disposal of amalgam changed in 2017, largely due to the environmental issues caused by the mercury. The two main changes are,

  1. Amalgam waste must be treated as hazardous dental waste. This requires proper storage, transportation, and disposal using authorised waste management facilities​ (ClinicalWasteSolutions)​​ (NetRegs)​.
  2. Amalgam waste must be stored in rigid containers with mercury suppressants and disposed of through a mercury recovery process before final disposal​ (CQC (Care Quality Commission))​.

For further details on these regulations, you can refer to the official guidelines on the UK government’s website and environmental resources like NetRegs and the Care Quality Commission (CQC)​ (GOV.UK)​​ (CQC (Care Quality Commission))​​ (NetRegs)​.

Need help disposing of Amalgam?

Anway has the expertise, correct licensing and the right accreditation to dispose of amalgam legally and cost effectively. Based in Sheffield, we cover a wide area for the removal of dentist waste and hazardous waste, including areas such Barnsley, Halifax, Leeds, North Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

If we are near you and need advice on the removal of dentist waste, then please do not hesitate to contact us.


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