Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal


Part II of this Comment outlines the toxicity and behavior of mercury. Part III asserts that cremation is a significant and growing source of mercury pollution. Part IV describes the current regulatory atmosphere for crematory mercury vapor: the federal government’s decision to leave it largely unregulated and the efforts of a few states, including Maine, Minnesota, and Colorado, to begin tackling this problem. Part IV also contains a case study discussing whether agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area of California are effectively addressing crematory mercury. Part V explores the options of either capturing mercury emitted from crematories or pulling teeth containing dental amalgam fillings prior to cremation. It also includes an assessment of our collective capacity to change cultural death practices in order to address this threat. Part V concludes with a mention of two alternatives to cremation: green burial and promession.