Crematorium blows away mercury emissions from tooth fillings

A crematorium has been forced to spend £600,000 filtering toxic fumes from the high number of people being cremated with a mouthful of fillings.

With mercury emissions set to rise due to large numbers of people in Fife, Scotland, being cremated with mercury amalgam teeth fillings, Kirkcaldy Crematorium felt the need for the £600,000 makeover.

As a result, it will be fitted with special filtering equipment that will help cut emissions in line with national legislation.

Bereavement services manager Liz Murphy said: ‘The changes are in keeping with national legislation which will bring us into line with the air quality guidelines we need to comply with.

‘The mercury comes from the fillings in people’s teeth which change during the cremation process and produce emissions.

‘The generations of people coming through the system at the moment have large numbers of these fillings, which mean cremations are set to become the biggest reason for mercury in the air.

‘Mercury emissions don’t affect anyone in the immediate vicinity, they go up into the atmosphere and then come down into the food chain.’

The poisonous substance can be transmitted through the air stream and deposited in water, including the seas around Britain, and it is feared it will re-enter the food-chain through fish.

National targets aim to reduce these toxic emissions by 50% by 2012 and the work in Kirkcaldy will mean Fife Council fulfils these requirements.

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