The Head of the Public Health Board for the Regional Government of Valencia has reversed a prohibition on cremating obese bodies.
Director General, Ana María García, had earlier announced a draft law that forbade the cremation of cancer victims who had received treatment using radioactive needles; of coffins containing zinc or lead; and as mentioned above, the bodies of people with morbid obesity – this last point caused quite a stir, which is why it was withdrawn from the draft bill.
The reason that this third category was included before being dropped was because it was originally considered a health hazard for those living next to a crematorium because of the ‘volume’ of human fat involved in comparison with the average cadaver.
The rest of the draft bill is going ahead, which is designed to lessen contamination in general produced by crematoriums. For example all metal hinges etc, on a coffin if they are made of lead or zinc must be removed, as must plastic adornments.
Coffin upholstery and clothing worn must not contain organochloride, which produces significant toxicity when burnt.
The law also stipulates the minimum distance permitted between the installations and dwellings, bringing it down to a 200 metre radius.
Lastly, there was an incident four years ago in the US when a fire broke out in a crematorium during the cremation of a man who had suffered from morbid obesity – the chimney had overheated. According to the owner, the large amount of human fat involved (the man weighed 230 kilos) created excessive heat once the cremation process had begun.