Prior to our death, we can choose and let our loved ones know whether we want to be buried, or cremated.
Cremation refers to the process of conversion of human remains into ash and pieces of minerals through the process of oxidation and combustion. Since the human body is mostly carbon, the gases given off are mostly CO2. The machine used involves using a furnace, and it has temperatures reaching up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
In our lives, some of us undergo various medical procedures involving metals. Whether that involves getting a pacemaker, or getting a dental filling done, the temperature of the furnace may not be high enough to melt these metals completely. The metals most commonly involved are, Gold, Steel, Amalgam, and Titanium.
Since these metals are either not burned, or completely turned to dust, for either of these reasons, they need to be removed from the body. After removal, they can easily be recycled, for purposes of reusing them. They are melted, and then sold back to manufacturers, or given back to the families of the deceased, if asked, which can help them financially.
Let’s take a look at one of the most common procedures involving metal, cremation dental fillings.
Dental fillings use a type of gold that is not 100% pure, solid gold. In fact, it is a gold alloy (a mixture of two or more metals). Pure gold is very soft and doesn’t make a good dental filling material. Alloys need to be removed prior to the process of cremation if the family of the deceased want them. For this purpose, a dentist is called to take the gold filling out of the deceased’s body.
It is important to remove any dental filling prior to the cremation process because while pure, solid gold has a temperature that is greater than the furnace temperature (1945 degrees F), as the purity of the gold drops, so does it’s melting point. And so, an alloy of gold will have around 1600-1700 degrees F melting point and will melt along with the remains. To separate it is very difficult at this point in the process.
Hence, the cremation dental filling is usually separated beforehand. The gold or any other metal can be recycled and used again.
From a sanitary and utilitarian point of view, recycling is much better than disposing of the metals in a landfill.
Effect of furnace heat on Metals:
Except for gold, the metals that are left over and not melted are separated by using either magnets or other separating methods. Those metals include, but not limited to, titanium, steel, or staples that are a part of pacemakers.
After separating them, they are donated to a recycling company that melts it, and sells it to the manufacturers for reuse, or donates them to a charity.