Crematoria

Crematoria

here is the origanal source of this link: http://www.ejnet.org/crematoria/

Cremation and the number of crematoria are on the rise in the U.S. The Cremation Association of North America estimated that there were 1,971 crematoria operating in the U.S. in 2005, burning 32% of human deaths. See their statistics page for more information. There are similar hazards associated with pet crematoria and with animal carcass incinerators (often associated with research universities where animal testing occurs).When burning humans or other animals, there are toxic emissions associated with it, particularly when the following contaminants are an issue:

  • any mercury amalgam dental fillings which haven’t been removed
  • organohalogens (dioxins, furans, etc.) and other toxics accumulated through diet and other exposures (this is unavoidable, though a vegan/vegetarian diet will minimize exposure and toxin accumulation)
  • any plutonium pacemakers which haven’t been removed
  • silicone breast implants, which can contain PVC, Methylene Chloride and other toxic chemicals
  • other metal or plastic implants in humans
  • radioactive or toxic tracers or testing chemicals from animal experimentation (for animal carcass incinerators)
  • metal or plastic implants of tracking chips in pets (for pet crematoria)

Health Studies 

  • This 2003 study shows that the risk of stillbirth was 4% higher and the risk of the life threatening brain abnormality anencephalus was 5% higher among babies whose mothers lived near to crematoria. More details here.
  • Canada’s Interior Health Authority did a literature review and “concluded that fumes from crematoriums are potentially harmful and that they should not be located close to a residential area.” It also “found that particulate matter, which can be inhaled deep into lung tissue, is the chief threat.” (see “Put a lid on fumes from cremation,” Vancouver Sun, 5/12/2006)
  • Public Health Impact of Crematoria (report by Chief Medical Officer of British Columbia outlining mercury, dioxin, particulate matter and other emissions concerns; report states that crematoria could have a negative impact on health and should not be located in residential neighborhoods)

Mercury Emissions

Mercury Amalgam Fillings:

Removal of Mercury Amalgam Fillings Prior to Cremation:

Dioxin

In EPA’s 2000 Inventory of Dioxin Emissions in the U.S. (published March 2005), they estimate that crematoria emit 410 ng of dioxin TEQ (Toxic Equivalents) per body.

This equates to as much dioxin as burning:

  • 3,205 pounds of tires;
  • 320 pounds of trash in a trash incinerator; or
  • 426 pounds of hazardous waste in a hazardous waste incinerator

Source: p1-40 in Chapter 1 of EPA’s Dioxin Inventory

<!– “In 1995, there were 1,155 crematories reported in the United States. However, there are no readily available data on the number of cold versus warm crematoria furnaces. In 1995, 21.1 percent of the deceased bodies were cremated (i.e., 488,224 cremations), and 15.2 percent of the deceased were cremated in 1987 (i.e., 323,371 cremations). Cremations are projected to increase to 25 percent in the year 2000 and 37 percent in the year 2010. A high confidence rating is assigned to these activity level estimates, because they are based on recent data provided by the Crematoria Association of North America (Springer, 1997).”

Source: This section on dioxin from crematoria is from p3-40 to 3-42 in this EPA report on dioxin: Vol 1, Chap 3 of U.S. EPA’s Dioxin Report: National Academy of Science Review Draft –>

Ordinances Used to Combat Crematoria

Two crematoria were stopped by local governments in Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2007 through the use of local air pollution ordinances. West Reading Borough passed an ordinance requiring continuous monitoring of mercury emissions, real-time reporting of emissions data on a website and establishing strict emissions limits. Kulpmont Borough later passed a similar ordinance, regulating both mercury and dioxins and creating a 900-foot set-back requirement from residential properties. See ActionPA’s ordinance page for details.

Green Burial

There are green burial options that don’t require incineration and which don’t have the problems associated with modern cemetaries. For details, see the following websites:

 

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