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Crematorium set for £1 m upgrade over dental fillings mercury risk

Published by in English ·

MORE than £1 million is to be invested in making the Woodlands Crematorium in Scunthorpe more environmentally friendly.

The £1.1 million investment will see a major rebuild of the cremators at the 47-year-old site to eliminate mercury emissions from the operation.

The emissions are triggered when dental fillings melt.

Building work at the site is due to be completed by the end of July next year.
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Barry Hutchinson, the assistant service director for neighbourhood and environment at North Lincolnshire Council, said: "During 2012, we will have a major rebuild of the cremators at Woodlands.

"Mercury abatement equipment will be installed with two larger cremators.

"We are just about to begin the procurement of this jointly with our neighbours in North-East Lincolnshire Council. As a council, we are committed to abate 100 per cent of cremations by January 1, 2013.

"We have to comply with the Government's requirement for the industry to achieve 50 per cent abatement by this date and 100 per cent abatement by 2020."

Government health watchdogs have discovered mercury is present in older amalgam dental fillings.

There is evidence of a food chain circle of emissions in the atmosphere ending up in the sea and then in fish. Cremations are currently carried out at 1,000 degrees Centigrade, but the temperature must be reduced 160 degrees in order to remove the mercury.

The excess heat is sent up the flue and into the atmosphere.

The majority of people aged over 30 have mercury tooth fillings, which means it could pose a problem for many years to come.

It has been estimated that unless urgent action is taken, crematoria will be Britain's biggest source of mercury emissions by 2020.

Council chiefs insist the work at the Woodlands Crematorium will involve the internal infrastructure.

Since Woodlands Crematorium was built by the former Scunthorpe Borough Council in 1964, it is estimated there have been 68,000 cremations.

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