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Last Updated: Monday, 5 February 2007, 20:46 GMT
Mercury filters for crematorium
Crematoria contribute 16% of the UK's mercury emissions
One of the first crematoria in the UK to install filters to extract mercury during cremations has opened in north Nottinghamshire.

All new crematoria must install the filters to cut out the emissions which come from dental fillings.

The Sherwood Forest Crematorium at New Ollerton has installed the filters at a cost of more than 250,000.

Spokesman Graham Pratt said the mercury is turned into a solid form that can be stored safely in a sealed drum.

Council tax

He said gases from the cremation are transferred to a water-cooled tank where a powder is added to turn them to a solid.

The mercury is filtered out and then stored.

A fee of 25 is being charged at crematoria in Derby to help pay for the installation of the filters.

Kate Day of Derby Council said: "If the council was paying for it - it would come out of council tax.

"This way is a fairer way of taxing it as the people who are providing the pollutants are paying for it."

The government aims to half emissions by 2012.

Mercury is found in dental fillings and can cause environmental damage when released into the atmosphere.

Exposure to mercury is linked to damage to the brain, nervous system and fertility, with crematoria responsible for 16% of the UK's mercury pollution.

Crematorium in Nottinghamshire is the first in the country to be fitted with new filters

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