Hg-rid-LIFE - Mercury Decontamination of Dental Care Facilities

LIFE15 ENV/SE/000465

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Contact details:

Contact person: Anna Svensson
Tel: 46707894019
Email: grontandvard@ptj.se

Project description:


The use of dental amalgam contributes to a substantial amount of mercury (Hg) in the environment. According to BIO Intelligence Service (2012), dental amalgam is one of the main remaining uses of mercury in the EU. The demand for dental amalgam was still high in 2010, when it accounted for, on average, 75 tonnes of Hg per year in the EU. Some 75% of the dental facilities in all EU Member States are equipped with amalgam separators, but estimates suggest that about 45 tonnes Hg per year from dental practices within the EU ends up in clinic effluents. This presents risks to microbiological activity in soils, wildlife and human populations, and the integrity of ecosystems. There is a need for new techniques that reduce the mercury leaked to the environment from this source.


The Hg-rid-LIFE project aims at reducing emissions of mercury, by demonstrating new and improved techniques for decontamination of amalgam and mercury in the pipe systems of Swedish dental clinics. The project has potential to remove up to 50% of the mercury from the dental clinics taking part in the pilot project. In its first stage, the project aims at collecting 100 kg Hg. It will do this by:

  • Improving standards for sampling mercury concentration in water;
  • Testing innovative and more efficient technologies for decontamination of pipe systems;
  • Improving existing technology for reducing emissions of mercury from amalgam separators, and
  • Developing guidelines for mercury remediation in dental clinics that can initiate or inspire national and EU-wide guidelines.
  • Adequate handling of dental amalgam waste is necessary to achieve goals within EU legislation. Mercury is defined as a priority substance under the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and the Environmental Quality Standards Directive (2013/39/EU). Together, these establish concentration limits for mercury and its compounds in order to attain good chemical status of surface waters in all Member States. Further emission limit values and quality standards are described in the Mercury Discharges Directive (82/176/EEC) and the Mercury Directive (84/156/EEC).

    Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following results:

  • Development and demonstration of a new and more effective, easy-to-apply and cost-effective technology for mercury decontamination;
  • Drains of 600 dental care facilities screened for mercury;
  • 145 dental care facilities fitted with the new technology for mercury decontamination during the project;
  • Sewage waste containing contamination corresponding to 100 kg of mercury removed from pipes in dental clinics, with the new technology having the potential to increase the volume of removed contaminated sludge by 25-50%;
  • Reduced mercury leakage from examined dental clinics;
  • In clinics where mercury levels exceed 1 000 μg/l in sewage waste from suction systems, mercury levels will be reduced by at least 50%;
  • Increased knowledge level and know-how on how to mitigate mercury leakage from dental facilities shared with environmental officers, suppliers of dental equipment and dental technicians;
  • At least 15 training seminars, several international webinars, and a web-based training tool developed regarding mercury management in dental facilities; and
  • Draft proposals for guidelines based on project results, to support the development of national and international guidelines for the management of dental mercury.



Environmental issues addressed:


Risk management - Pollutants reduction
Water - Water quality improvement


heavy metal‚  water quality‚  water pollution

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 82/176 - Limit values and quality objectives for mercury discharges by the chlor-alkali ...
  • Directive 84/156 - Limit values and quality objectives for mercury discharges by sectors other th ...
  • Directive 2008/105 - Environmental quality standards in the field of water policy (16.12.2008)
  • Waste
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Praktikertjnst AB
Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description Praktikertjänst is Sweden’s biggest provider of private health and dental care, with over 50 years of experience in the business. It is owned by a wide range of healthcare professionals, who are responsible for managing the clinics.
Partners IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet AB, Sweden Swedenrecycling AB, Sweden


Project reference LIFE15 ENV/SE/000465
Duration 01-SEP-2016 to 31-AUG -2019
Total budget 1,701,112.00 €
EU contribution 1,019,766.00 €
Project location Stockholm(Sverige) Östra Mellansverige(Sverige) Småland med Öarna(Sverige) Sydsverige(Sverige) Västsverige(Sverige) Norra Mellansverige(Sverige) Mellersta Norrland(Sverige) Övre Norrland(Sverige) Baltic Sea Sverige (S)(Sverige)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version