College of Dental Medicine
The Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) and the College of Dental Medicine (CDM) work in collaboration to address patient, student, clinician and environmental safety. The cornerstone of this collaboration is a robust annual staff and student training program. Each year, EH&S delivers 12 hours of safety and environmental management training to more than 400 CDM staff and students. The training covers topics such as laboratory and occupational safety, hazard communication, environmental stewardship, waste management, bloodborne pathogens and fire & life safety. In addition, CDM has clinical policies and procedures specifically established to address these topics as it relates to clinical care. These are available through the CDM intranet website.
The effectiveness of CDM’s environmental management programs is the result of a continued commitment to environmental protection and being adaptable to change in an ever-changing environmental climate. For years EH&S and CDM have been partnering to recycle dental materials such as mercury-containing scrap dental amalgam ,lead foils and silver recovery. In 2006, when NYSDEC enacted regulations for installing and managing amalgam separators in dental facilities, CDM was already prepared for the May 2008 implementation date in existing facilities having spent significant time with EH&S researching various separator technologies before the NYSDEC rule was ever written. Presently, the CDM has four amalgam separator units installed which are equipped to remove at least 99% of mercury from dental wastewater discharges from the clinic. This equipment, in conjunction with chair side trap collection, results in dental amalgam removal efficiency upwards of 99.87%.
Beyond mercury, EH&S and CDM partner to ensure the proper operation and management of several silver recovery systems which are employed to help filter contaminants from the radiographic processing effluent before it enters the wastewater. Along with silver from the processing, EH&S also recycles the lead foil collected by CDM from the dental X-ray packaging. More information regarding EH&S’s recycling information such as silver.