When it comes to disposing of hazardous materials in a dental office, safety protocols must be followed to protect both people and the environment. It is essential to place sharp objects such as syringes, needles, and other instruments in a properly labeled, leak-proof and puncture-proof container that is easily accessible.
Leadaprons and packages must not be discarded in landfills, as they can contaminate groundwater and soil. Instead, they must be transported outside the facility and disposed of by an approved waste transport company according to the guidelines of the province or territory.
In a dental care environment, biomedical waste such as gauze or other materials soaked in blood, small pieces of human tissue, and discarded sharp objects can be generated. Dentists are responsible for providing appropriate training for staff to recognize the categories of waste and biomedical waste compared to “normal disposable” in a dental center. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed standards for the use of amalgam separators and dental clinics under the Clean Water Act to prevent dental mercury from being thrown down seat drains and reaching the environment. The proper management of dental waste, including hazardous dental waste, is essential to reduce the risk of contamination through exposure to people and the protection of the environment. Best practices are encouraged in dental centers and there are numerous regulations for the collection, storage and disposal of dental waste.