Infection Control, Environmental Health, and Safety
What regulations govern hazardous materials
used in dentistry?
The following information was excerpted from the OSHA
Chemicals pose a wide range of health hazards (such as irritation, sensitization,
and carcinogenicity) and physical hazards (such as flammability, corrosion,
and reactivity). Dental practices handle numerous potentially
hazardous materials that might have special disposal requirements
set by law or regulation.
Potentially Hazardous Materials
- Scrap amalgam (because of its mercury content)
- Lead foil from x-ray packets
- X-ray developer and fixer solutions
- Bio-hazardous waste
- Surface disinfectants
- Enzymatic cleaners
OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), promulgated in 1983 and revised
in 1994, was developed to reduce the incidence of chemical source illness
and injuries and to ensure that workers who are potentially exposed to
toxic substances receive information about the dangers of these substances
and about protective measures needed to work with them safely.
The basic goal of a Hazard Communication Program is to be sure employers
and staff know about work hazards and how to protect themselves. This
is accomplished by requiring chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate
the hazards of chemicals they produce or import, and to provide information
about them through labels on shipped containers and more detailed information
sheets called material safety data sheets (MSDSs).
All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must:
- Prepare and implement a written
hazard communication program
- Ensure that all containers are labeled
- Ensure that employees are
provided access to MSDSs, and
- Provide an effective training program for all potentially exposed employees.
Download a 4-page Word document with more details about HCS and clinic safety procedures.