Dental-filling poison fears could see £850,000 spent on filters for Leeds crematoria

New equipment is being proposed to filter out more noxious gasses created by the burning of bodies at Cottingley, Rawdon and Lawnswood.

There are also worries that mercury – often used in amalgam teeth fillings – is being melted down during cremation and released into the atmosphere.

Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper.

The mercury found in dental fillings is becoming an environmental issue, so more filtration units are being proposed at Leeds crematoria.

Approximately 50 percent of dental amalgam is mercury, and although harmless in fillings, could be toxic pollutant when released into the environment.

Leeds City Council’s plan is install filtration equipment to reduce the levels of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide at Cottingley and Rawdon, and to install the mercury-abated filtration and noxious gas equipment to all the cremators at Lawnswood.

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Cottingley and Rawdon already have mercury filtration units.

In addition, the council wants to install a thermal heat storage system to help heat ancillary buildings at Lawnswood.

A decision on the plans is expected this month, and if approved, Leeds Parks and Countryside will take the lead role to implement the equipment.

The move comes as councils across the country come under pressure to create more environmentally-friendly funeral services.

With burials plots at a premium, it is more likely that increasing number of families will turn to cremation.

Earlier this year emergency plans were drawn up to expand the cemetery at Cottingley by an additional 120 plots, with space close to running out.

After the plans were proposed in May, Councillor Angela Gabriel, Labour ward councillor for Beeston and Holbeck, said : “Ensuring there is enough burial space in the city is a really important job and we are pleased that these plans for a small extension at Cottingley will help to ensure local residents have somewhere nearby where they can bury their relatives.

“It was very important to us that the plans recognised the need for the extension to be a calm and restful place and we think they reflect that.”

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