In Part 1 of this three-part Blog series, we discussed many evacuation line cleaners currently available on the market are non-compliant due to the passing of the EPA Regulation. Part Two of this Blog series will be considering how you can determine if the evacuation line cleaner you are using is safe and compliant.
Safety Data Sheet
When in doubt, check the Safety Data Sheet. For every cleaning solution used in your clinic, from hand sanitizer, bleach for the toilets or evacuation line cleaner; you are required to keep a copy of the SDS for your records. If you are uncertain if the evacuation line cleaner you are currently using meet the EPA Regulation standards, read the SDS. The following are sections of an SDS you should focus on:
Hazards and Safe of Your Handling Evacuation Line Cleaners
Before using any new product in a dental practice, it is required the practice study the SDS to ensure everyone understands the procedures for handling the product safely and correctly.
It is essential for the dental practice to understand the equipment required to handle the product under regular use, as well as procedures in case of a spill. There are good line cleaners that do not require any special handling during typical use or in the case of a spill. Typically the dangerous line cleaners that need special safety equipment are the type of line cleaners you would naturally like to avoid.
Ingredients of Your Evacuation Line Cleaners
The ingredients of all evacuation line cleaners vary, some even choose not to list their components to protect their formula. The ingredients you will find listed in the SDS are those which require special handling, instructions for disposal and spillage. Those are the ingredients to keep note of, as they can be the chemicals that are not allowed by the EPA Regulation. If you find a cleaner that states they contain phosphoric acid, it would be best that your practice find a safer evacuation line cleaner to use. As mentioned above, phosphoric acid is a phosphate, which is a substance that is not allowed to be discharged into the city waterways. Not to mention how negatively phosphoric acid reacts to metals in suction lines, pumps and the mercury in amalgam separators.
Physical and Chemical Properties of Your Evacuation Line Cleaners
Under the properties section of an SDS, you will find the pH of the evacuation line cleaner. The EPA Regulation does not specify if the required pH of an evacuation line cleaner is based on the concentrated solution or when it is mixed with water. It is recommended to err on the side of caution and choose a neutral pH evacuation line cleaner with the solutions’ concentrated pH be between 6-8. By choosing the cautious route, you will rule out any accidental spills or under dilutions that could cause the evacuation line cleaner to be discharged from the dental practice at a higher or lower pH than expected by the EPA and Local Control Groups.
Continue to Learn More
Be cautious of evacuation line cleaners with a high or low pH stating a neutral pH when diluted. The tactic of dilution could be the manufacturer’s attempt at creating the parameters to allow their product to be compliant with the EPA Regulation, without having to reformulate. Diluting a solution with a pH of 1-3 or 10-14 to bring them into the range of neutral, could weaken the product to the point of being practically water. With that much dilution, it would leave the question, how effective can a heavily diluted product be?
Follow us to Part Three of this Blog series to learn about some underhanded tricks that some evacuation line cleaner manufacturers have used to become compliant.