Our daughter Sarah, son Joseph and myself went to a Public Hearing tonight on a zoning variance for the addition of a cremation machine at the funeral home around the corner. The hearing room was full. Neighborhood people were concerned about the mercury emissions. Seems when people are creamated who have mercury fillings in their teeth (which is a whole lot of people), the mercury is emitted through a smoke stack and deposits, well, wherever the wind is blowing, or not blowing… A professor from Case Western Reserve University, Kathleen Fagan, MD, said mercury causes damage to the developing brains of unborn children and babies less than one year old. “Health effects can range from decreases in IQ and developmental delays to muscle weakness, seizures and mental retardation.” During the question and answer period, our Sarah stood and said she has spent a good deal of time with two autistic children. And if there is any possibility the mercury could cause this type of condition (or others), then why would anybody want to risk it? Good question… A representative from the cremation machine company said the EPA assures people that the mercury release from crematoriums is minimal and well within it’s standards for safe emissions. Shortly after, a man rose and said during the Vietnam War the government told military people that handling “agent orange” wasn’t cancer causing. Yet they found out later that it was. The man wondered: Do we want to find out the same thing about mercury emissions — after the fact? Good point. Note: During one juncture in the hearing on the cremation machine, the moderator asked if there was any: “burning questions.” No pun intended, but I had to laugh.