Government is reticent to step in an regulate crematory emissions for several reasons. One is that funeral directors are often VERY involved with politics on a local and state level, and they have a vested interest in keeping the status quo regarding laws (or rather, the absence of laws) concerning crematory emissions – and they go to great lengths to convince lawmakers that the laws should not be allowed to encroach upon their business dealings. Second, the EPA has been relegated to the role of TOOTHLESS watchdog regarding environmental issues on many levels by Big Business. The funeral industry and their lobbyists have been brought in to tie their hands specifically when it comes to the emissions of mercury from cremation by forcing the removal of crematories from the list of industries intended to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Crematories were going to be regulated under C.A.A., but they were being categorized as “Other Solid Waste Incinerators” – the Funeral Industry Lobby insisted that it was inappropriate to classify dead human remains as “solid waste” – so they were removed from that category. No new category was created to address the issue of crematory emissions of mercury. They now exist in what I like to call the “regulatory black hole” which means that there are NO regulations at all on the emissions. The industry reps will tell that the reason there are no regulations is because EPA decided NOT to regulate them due to the low levels of emissions which are produced, and that they are therefore “safe”. That is FALSE. EPA has never said they do not regulate crematories because they are low polluters. They do not regulate because they were LOBBIED to remove them from the category under which they were originally slated to be regulated.
There has never been established a “safe level of exposure to mercury” – only a level above which they are sure that damage will begin to occur (and mercury is difficult to get out of the body, so exposure is cumulative, and chronic exposure to mercury vapor is consider to be very harmful to human health.) The level they have established above which harm is probable is >25 grams annually. Well, a single crematory emits well above that amount. In a single year a crematory with 1 retort will exceed 1000 grams of mercury annually, in the form of mercury vapor which is odorless, colorless, and which become a persistent pollutant – it never goes away.
Studies have been conducted that indicate living near a crematory or incinerator leads to chronic health problems, with the most vulnerable population groups being the unborn fetus, small children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune system or other underlying health issues. You will find these studies on the website under “crematory emissions data” – there you will also find information regarding the EPA (and their knowledge of the impact on health of crematories, the fact that the official numbers for the emissions are off – significantly off. The actual emissions are likely to be 11 times higher.
We need every willing citizen to get involved! It is an issue that is NOT going to go away. The rates for cremation are expected to hit 50% before 2025. In some states, the rates are already as high as 70%. The baby boomers are the generation with the most amalgam in their mouths, also expected to be the largest population group to choose cremation. If we don’t do something, what kind of quality of life will our grandchildren inherit?