Characteristics and Treatment of the Dental Waste Water Stream

Michael D. Cailas, James L. Drummond, Wu Tung-Yi, Victor G. Ovsey, Julie Hafermann

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


Dental amalgam consists of approximately equal parts mixture of metallic mercury and an alloy powder consisting of silver, tin, copper and zinc. Amalgam has been used extensively as a tooth filling material, accounting for 75% of posterior restorations. The waste material from dental offices generated during restorative dental procedures contains amalgam. The uncontrolled discharge of this waste into the sewer system from a large number of dental units (i.e. dental clinics), will increase the mercury load to treatment facilities and could eventually contribute higher potential mercury exposure as well. The main objective of this project was to characterize the properties of the dental waste (DW) stream.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Waste Management and Research Center
StatePublished - 2002

Publication series

NameRR Series (Waste Management and Research Center)


  • Dental materials -- Environmental aspects
  • Dentistry -- Pollution prevention
  • Dentistry -- Source reduction (Waste management)
  • Mercury -- Environmental aspects
  • Medical wastes -- Environmental aspects
  • Water -- Pollution
  • Dental offices -- Waste disposal
  • Medical wastes -- Illinois
  • Hazardous wastes -- Illinois


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