Cremation and the number of crematoria are on the rise in the U.S. The Cremation Association of North America estimated that there were 2,204 crematories in 2010, up from 1,971 in 2005. Use of cremation has increased, mainly because it's cheaper than standard burial, from 24% in 1998 to 45% in 2013. See their statistics page for more information.

When burning humans or other animals, there are toxic emissions associated with it, particularly when the following contaminants are an issue:

There are similar hazards associated with pet crematoria and with animal carcass incinerators (often associated with research universities where animal testing occurs).

A great general resource site on crematoria pollution issues is: No Crematory

Health Studies

Mercury Emissions

Mercury Amalgam Fillings:

Removal of Mercury Amalgam Fillings Prior to Cremation:


In EPA's 2000 Inventory of Dioxin Emissions in the U.S. (published March 2005), they estimate that crematoria emit 410 ng of dioxin TEQ (Toxic Equivalents) per body.

This equates to as much dioxin as burning:

Source: p1-40 in Chapter 1 of EPA's Dioxin Inventory

Ordinances Used to Combat Crematoria

Two crematoria were stopped by local governments in Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2007 through the use of local air pollution ordinances. West Reading Borough passed an ordinance requiring continuous monitoring of mercury emissions, real-time reporting of emissions data on a website and establishing strict emissions limits. Kulpmont Borough later passed a similar ordinance, regulating both mercury and dioxins and creating a 900-foot set-back requirement from residential properties. See ActionPA's ordinance page for details.

Green Burial

There are green burial options that don't require incineration and which don't have the problems associated with modern cemetaries. For details, see the following websites: