New regulations on use and disposal of mercury will impact dental professionals

NHS England has written to all NHS dental contract holders to make them aware of a new European Union Regulation 2017/852 regarding the use and disposal of mercury.

Article 10 of the regulation introduces provisions that will need to be implemented by all dental professionals in the UK. These are explained below:

Article 10[1]

With effect from 1 January 2019, dental amalgam must only be used in pre-dosed encapsulated form.

Article 10[2]

From 1 July 2018, dental amalgam shall not be used for dental treatment of

  • pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • children under 15 years
  • deciduous teeth

An exception applies when deemed strictly necessary by the dental practitioner based on the specific medical needs of the patient.

Article 10[4]

With effect from 1 January 2019 dental facilities must be equipped with an amalgam separator, and by 1 January 2021 all separators must retain at least 95% of amalgam particles. This latter requirement applies to any new separators installed from January 2018 onwards.

Article 10[6]

With effect from 1 January 2018, dental practitioners must ensure that their amalgam waste, including amalgam residues, particles and fillings, and teeth (or parts of teeth) contaminated by dental amalgam, is handled and collected by an authorised waste management establishment.

NHS England expects that three of the provisions (Articles 10[1], [4] and [6]) are already accommodated by the majority of practices in England.

This page was correct at publication on 17/04/2018. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.


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