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15 February 2012 | Angeline Albert
The level of mercury emitted from tooth fillings in bodies that are cremated in the UK is expected to be halved by the end of 2012, with the help of a procurement agreement.
Public sector buying consortium, Pro5, has gone live with a framework to help local authorities buy mercury control equipment for their crematoriums. This equipment helps remove the dangerous substance from the atmosphere.
The agreement was created in response to a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) target to cut mercury emissions from crematoria by 50 per cent by the end of this year.
A continued rise in the emissions of mercury, a toxic substance found in tooth fillings, is thought to be caused by people having more fillings and more of their own teeth when they die. Although mercury monitoring products are used, Defra has said that all crematoria must fit mercury control equipment before 31 December 2012.
Paul Smith, procurement and supply chain director at YPO, a Pro5 member organisation which is managing the agreement, said: “Through this framework, the industry will have immediate access to pre-approved suppliers who will manage requirements and ensure crematoria comply with the emissions targets. The agreement enables local authorities to get access to compliant, effective equipment without going through an expensive tendering process themselves.”
Pro5 is a partnership of the five largest public sector buying organisations in the UK Central Buying Consortium (CBC), Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO), North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO), West Mercia Supplies (WMS) and YPO.
The improvements in mercury control are expected to add between £25 and £30 to the cost of a funeral by cremation.