Dental Medical Waste Roundup: Hazardous Waste, Extracted Teeth and More…

Here’s what you missed this month on the Red Bags blog …

Medical waste isn’t exclusive to just hospitals and doctors offices. Regardless of the type of practice, there will always be medical waste, and so these professionals must contract with a licensed medical waste hauler to pick up waste and deal with it appropriately. Here are the kinds of medical and hazardous waste you’ll see at the dentist’s office and how it’s handled.

Extracted Teeth

According to the CDC, extracted teeth that will be discarded are “…subject to the containerization and labeling provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standard.” This means that extracted teeth are considered “potentially hazardous” and must be treated as such.  This differs, however, at the state level. In North Dakota, extracted teeth are considered regulated medical waste, whereas in Pennsylvania, the regulated medical waste designation doesn’t apply.

How should dentists dispose of extracted teeth? Read on to find out…

Dental X-ray Waste

While many dental offices are moving towards digital x-ray machines, analog machines generate dangerous chemicals that must be dealt with and handled in a manner that is not only compliant, but protects users and the environment.

What, exactly, are the dangers of dental x-ray waste? Learn about x-ray fixer, developer, and how to deal with lead apron and gowns on the blog.

Speaking of X-ray waste…

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority over matters concerning hazardous waste disposal. But what exactly is hazardous waste in the dental industry? If dentists still use analog x-ray machines, then x-ray fixer is high on the list. X-ray fixer, or x-ray fixer solution neutralizes any developer remaining on the film, removes undeveloped silver halides, and hardens the emulsion. What makes it so dangerous and why is it considered hazardous waste? We have the 411 on x-ray fixer and how to dispose of it in a compliant and legal manner.

All About Amalgam

Amalgam fillings are still widely used by dentists across the country, and by weight, amalgam is 50 percent mercury.  It is combined with other metals to make it safe and stable for patient use, but because of its chemical makeup, amalgam cannot be treated like regular waste, as it has the potential to release mercury back into the environment. Here’s how dentists need to dispose of amalgam in their practices.

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