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Amalgam separator final rule included in government freeze

January 23, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The White House issued a memorandum to federal agencies Jan. 20 ordering them to freeze all new or pending regulations, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule requiring dental offices to install amalgam separators.

The memorandum, which is similar to what the Obama administration did in 2009 and Bush administration in 2001, applies to any regulation that has not been published in the Federal Register or yet taken effect.

The EPA’s final rule required dental offices to install amalgam separators by 2019. The rule was finalized Dec. 15 but was not published.

In the memo the White House asked the agencies to do the following:

  • Refrain from sending any new regulations to the Office of the Federal Register “until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President” reviews and approves the regulation — with the exception of emergency circumstances as identified by the Office of Management and Budget.
  • In regard to regulations that have been sent to the Federal Register but not published, “immediately withdraw them” and follow the proper Federal Register procedure on withdrawals.
  • For regulations that have been published in the OFR but have not taken effect, “temporarily postpone their effective date” for 60 days.
The freeze also includes the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records final rule, which the ADA filed comments on in 2016 and was published and expected to take effect on Feb. 17.

The Food and Drug Administration’s final rule banning most powdered gloves is not included in the freeze as that rule was published and went into effect Jan. 18.