ADEA Washington Update

Lawsuit Targets EPA’s Rescinding of Amalgam Separator Rule

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scales2The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming that the agency’s withdrawal of the Mercury Effluent Rule without public notice or public comment is illegal. The final rule was issued on Dec. 15, 2016, making it vulnerable to a Jan. 20, 2017, White House order putting rules issued by the Obama Administration toward the end of its term on hold. “EPA’s withdrawal of the mercury rule is not just illegal, but senseless,” NRDC’s Litigation Director Aaron Colangelo said in a statement. “The rule imposes minimal burden, drew widespread praise from dental providers and benefits public health and the environment.”

The EPA estimates that dental offices are the primary source of mercury discharge, contributing more than five tons of mercury annually to municipal water treatment plants. The American Dental Association (ADA) website says the EPA rule requiring the use of amalgam separators is “consistent with the ADA principles for developing a national pretreatment standard for dental office wastewater.” At about $800 per dental office, amalgam separators are widely viewed as a reasonable investment in improving water quality and protecting the public’s health.

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