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The construction and operation of crematoriums in urban areas is rapidly expanding due to such high demand and that will cause irreparable damage to the environment and public health..


Cremation has become the primary choice of the majority of Quebecers.  Since crematoriums are owned by funeral homes, they are often built adjacent to them in residential settings. They do not consider themselves as an industry and are exempt from the rules of the industry and incinerators.  Although the scientific literature clearly shows that they emit some of the most polluting and toxic contaminants, crematoriums falsely claim that they are safe for the environment and health

According to Canada’s Air Pollutant Emission Inventory (APEI) reportcrematoriums emit 10 of 12 of the most  polluting and toxic contaminants in the world, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5), sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, lead, mercury, cadmium, dioxins and furans, and benzenes, including hexachlorobenzene

  • According to the APEI, pollutants emanating from industries have decreased by 50% between 1990 and 2017 but those emanating from crematoriums, in the same period, have increased by almost 300%.

  • The reports of polluting emanations, mostly self-reported by the crematoriums themselves, indicate emanation rates situated at the maximum limits of the standards permitted for several polluting products, and this for a single cremation unit (i.e. crematorium oven.

  • in response to increasing demand, new crematoriums tend to want to incorporate two or more cremation units per site, thereby doubling or tripling contaminant discharges which consequently exceed the maximum allowable limits.


Québec government standards do not take into consideration the number of cremation units per site but rather the emanations produced by the emissions of only one cremation unit at a time.

  • government standards do not take bioaccumulation into consideration, ie. many of these contaminants are Persistent Organic Pollutants denounced by the Stockholm Convention and which accumulate in the environment and threaten the health of the population..

  • The price of cremation can be ten times less expensive than burial and that the majority of citizens, including 90% of young people aged 25 to 34, now opt for this method of disposing of bodies, driving to a significant increase in the demand of cremation services.

  • The direction of the prevailing winds, which carry polluting and toxic fumes  is not considered an important factor in preventing the construction of crematoriums near residences. At most, the MELCC will ask the crematorium to increase the height of the chimney. This will not change the emissions and will only deposit the contaminants further away on the neighbours

  • Crematoriums do not consider themselves to be incinerators, although cremation is incineration by definition (see Larousse). They have convinced the Ministry of the Environment (MELCC) of this so that the regulations on emissions and standards for incinerators (Chapter VII of the RAA, Regulation on the Cleanliness of the Atmosphere) do not apply to crematoriums. The only environmental constraint for crematoriums (Chapter VIII of the RAA) is to report every five (5) years the concentration of total particles emitted. They do not have to sample and report annually all the pollutants they emit as required by the regulation for incinerators.


  • Crematoriums are not a neighborhood business and do not want to acknowledge that they are a polluting industry

  • Crematoriums are owned by funeral homes and are established in the community and residential areas, thereby exposing the population, particularly pregnant women, children, and those most vulnerable to these emissions.

  • The vast majority of municipalities in Québec is unaware of the existence of these contaminant discharges and has no regulations concerning the construction and safe location of crematoriums in urban areas.

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