the following information is extracted from ecologic page
Dangerous Wastes from X-Ray Operations in Medical and Dental Offices
Manage X-ray Fixer
- To avoid generating waste fixer at all, consider switching to digital imaging.
- Collect used fixer in a container marked “Used fixer only”. Keep fixer separate from your developer.
- Have a dangerous waste management service pick it up for recycling or dangerous waste disposal.
- Ask your supplier to take it back. Some will take it at no cost and reclaim the silver. Keep disposal receipts.
- Buy a recovery system to reclaim the silver yourself. This option is not highly recommended as it most likely will not be cost-effective and function properly at all times due to maintenance requirements. To be effective and meet silver discharge limits, such systems need to have two canisters placed in a series as well as regular canister replacement, maintenance and testing. Using silver recovery units for the management of used fixer only makes economic and practical sense if the flow of used fixer is at least 2-3 gallons per week. Most dentists generate less than one gallon of fixer a month and find it more cost effective and convenient to collect used fixer for proper recycling or disposal.
Silver Recovery Canisters for Used X-ray Fixer in Dental Offices describes the maintenance required to process x-ray fixer on-site.
Manage X-ray Developer
- Keep developer and used fixer separated. Fixer cannot go down the drain and developer will ruin silver recovery systems. Most x-ray developing machines have separate hoses or trays for these wastes, making it easy to keep them separate.
- If used fixer and developer accidentally get mixed together, the mixture must be disposed of as dangerous waste.
- Flush the drain thoroughly as you dispose of the used developer.
- Do not dispose of developer, whether used or unused, to septic systems, since it may cause them to fail.
Manage X-ray Film
Manage Lead Foil, Boxes, and ApronsLead is a dangerous waste and should not be put in the garbage or in with red bag biomedical waste or sharps. Lead in dental offices is found in lead-foil and aprons, and in some boxes for the storage of x-ray film.
- Collect lead foil from x-ray packets for recycling.
- In the past, some dentists melted down their collected lead foils to make fishing weights. This is not illegal but is not a recommended BMP. Dental offices should not give lead foil to patients.
The Hazardous Waste Service Providers' Directory lists vendors who deal with dangerous wastes, such as lead and silver.
Dentists reminded to keep mercury out of their waste water is an Ecology press release from 2005.Amalgam Separators is a section on the Web site of the American Dental Association.
Fact Sheet - Mercury Use in Dental Amalgam from the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC).
Mercury-Dental Topic Hub™ from the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange offers pollution prevention resources to dental offices.