Mercury Reduction Program

Mercury flushed down the drain goes straight to the Bay 

San Francisco Bay is considered impaired due to high levels of mercury in fish, water and sediment. Mercury is harmful to fish, wildlife and people. It does not degrade in the environment. Young children and pregnant women are most at risk from its effects, particularly for birth defects. Long-term exposure in children can impair physical coordination, decrease brain function and even cause mental retardation. In adults, it can impair hearing and speech, blur vision and damage the kidneys.

Amalgam contains mercury and dental wastewater has been identified as a major source of mercury discharges into the sanitary sewer systems. Due to environmental and health concerns, USD is required to reduce the amount of mercury entering the Bay. USD’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is capable of removing only a portion of amalgam and mercury in wastewater and much of the toxic metal finds its way back into our environment. Therefore, USD has been working with the dental offices to reduce/minimize the discharge of amalgam and mercury into our sewer system.

USD’s Ordinance 36 Section 2.02  describes the requirements for dental facilities in Fremont, Newark and Union City that remove or place amalgam fillings. It also requires that these offices use approved Best Management Practices for handling amalgam waste.

Other Information and Forms for Dentists  

 

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