Tim Flannery and tooth decay
Climate Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery has recently told the Australian Medical Association’s annual conference that teeth containing amalgam fillings should be removed from dead people prior to cremation to prevent mercury vapor from escaping into the atmosphere. Professor Flannery was speaking in a session titled “Health and the Environment”.
Apart from being a rather strong view to hold on a Saturday morning, it is simply bad logic.
If your concern is the environment and the state of the atmosphere, why not go back to burying people? Cremation is an energy-intensive process, to say the least.
Not to mention the fact that dental amalgam is very stable, and likely to be far less of an environmental issue if it stays in someone’s body in the ground. After all, competent dentists are relatively relaxed about leaving amalgam fillings in somebody’s living mouth for 50 years…
Mind you, it is not a new debate. Here is an eloquent discourse from 1889 on the effect of cremation on the environment in London. It even mentions mercury.