New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Dental Clinic Wastes

Amalgam

Dental Amalgam is now managed as metal recycling. Please be aware there are two distinct protocols for managing dental amalgam. 1) Non-contact dental amalgam and contact dental amalgam. The following procedures should be followed when discarding mercury amalgam:

Methyl Methacrylate

The liquid component of the acrylic used in dental procedures is Methyl Methacrylate (MME). MME is an extremely flammable liquid.

Waste or spilled liquid MME is a hazardous waste due the flammability characteristic and therefore must be disposed of as such. Any materials used to clean up a spill of liquid MME (paper towels, absorbent pads, etc.) are also considered hazardous waste. Notify the Supply Clerk if you have any waste liquid MME or spill clean up materials for disposal. The Supply Clerk will contact the Office of Quality Assurance or Environmental Health and Safety to arrange for collection and disposal.

Note 1: When liquid MME has been mixed with the powder component and polymerized into the acrylic, the acrylic does not exhibit the flammability characteristic and is therefore not a hazardous waste. Waste acrylic can be discarded in the regular trash.

Note 2: Liquid MME has a strong pungent odor even at very low and safe exposure levels. The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for MME is 100 ppm, (8-hour TWA). Symptoms of exposure to high concentrations of MME vapors include eye irritation, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, and loss of consciousness. Liquid MME can cause considerable irritation or burns to the skin and eyes.

X-Ray Processing Wastes

Some of the wastes produced during X-Ray film processing arehazardous and must be disposed of properly. The following procedures must be followed:

Lead Foils from the X-ray film must be placed in the Lead Foil Recycling Containers, which are located next to the X-Ray developer units. When full, these containers are sent for recycling. Do not place the plastic component of the film or the film itself into these containers.

Spent Fixer Solution must bepassed through a Silver Recovery Unit prior to discharge to the drain. Spent fixer should to be collected in a labeled waste container beneath or close to the developer unit. When the waste container is 90% full, is should be brought to the Radiology Department (Clinic 1A) for silver recovery and appropriate disposal.

For more information please go to the Policy of the Management of Wastes Generated from X-Ray Procedures and Film Processing (PDF).

Extracted Teeth

Extracted teeth that contain mercury amalgam must first be disinfected in bleach solution for at least 14 days and then sent for recycling. Place the extracted teeth that contain mercury amalgam in the appropriate labeled containers provided in the clinics and labs – Extracted Teeth with Metallic Restorations (In Bleach Solution) (PDF).

Extracted teeth that do not contain mercury amalgam should be discarded into the red sharps containers.

Quick Links

A woman touching her tooth
NYU Footer