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With the price of funerals steadily increasing over the years, cremation has become a growing trend for honoring loved ones after they have passed on. There are many dangers associated with crematoriums, however. Coroners face hazards during each cremation they work with, and there are many environmental hazards that can develop in crematoriums as well.
Though the ritual of cremation has existed for a long time, it still has way to go before it can be considered truly safe.
High temperatures ensure that a cremation successfully incinerates a human corpse, and most crematoriums burn remains at temperatures of 1,600 to 1,800° Fahrenheit. Coroners and funeral directors who maintain crematoriums must be certain that their facilities meet all the necessary standards, or they will put themselves and others at serious risk. Any oven that can generate such a high level of heat can be dangerous if not operated properly. In the United States, regulations can vary from state to state and become even stricter on a local level. In Great Britain, the Ministry of Justice established laws that must be followed by anyone providing this service, and in 2008, these laws were updated to meet modern standards.
With environmental concerns at the forefront of the collective consciousness, the cost of cremation on the natural world must be considered. The most detrimental effect is obviously exhaust from industrial ovens, but as technology is constantly progressing, engineers have developed methods of burning propane to provide the necessary heat for crematoriums. This fuel produces a much cleaner exhaust, but has not been universally adopted. Some western crematoriums use an electronic method of incineration, but this is much more environmentally detrimental than originally perceived because of the exorbitant draw of electricity from the power grids.
Medical procedures can add many metals to a person's body, and when cremated these bodies release toxic levels of minerals into the atmosphere. This is particularly detrimental when mercury from tooth fillings is released during cremation. As little as one gram of vaporized mercury can make the air toxic, and some people have more than four grams worth of fillings in their mouths. In Britain, additional levies have been passed to provide existing crematoriums with proper filtration systems.
Based in Virginia, Raine Chasing has been ghost writing web content for private clients around the world since 2001. Chasing's articles have appeared on a large number of websites such as e-How.com and etown21.com, as well as the 2005 winter edition of "Lotus Magazine." She is currently pursuing a criminal justice degree and freelance photography certification in hopes of becoming a crime scene photographer.
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