Date of Award
Union College Only
Bachelor of Science
Physics and Astronomy
cremation, environmental monitoring, emissions, aerosol, toxicology
Many crematoria have received concern from communities and the media about the health effects of the emissions released from cremations. In particular, many fear that Mercury, used in amalgam fillings, is emitted through this process. This experiment uses Particle Induced X‐Ray Emission (PIXE) analysis techniques to determine the elemental composition and concentration of aerosol particles collected by a PIXE International Cascade Impactor on the roof of the Vale Cemetery Crematorium located in Schenectady, NY. Particles, ranging from 0.06 ‐ 16 microns in size, were collected and analyzed using a 2‐MeV proton beam. A large range of elements from Sulfur to Bromine were found to be present, however there seemed to be only small traces of Mercury. The highest concentration of Mercury detected on the impaction foils was 86.6 ng/cm2. From this, we calculated the highest amount of Mercury in the air to be 1.165 ng/m3.
Pathak, Shivani R., "PIXE analysis of crematorium emissions" (2010). Honors Theses. 1206.