A Letter from Megan R.

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With my husband Chris and our three year old son Ryan, I live on Ivy Hill Road near the Fair View Cemetery.  I am pregnant and we are expecting our second son. I grew up in Millstone, N.J. however I always wanted to live in Middletown one day. My cousins grew up here and I have fond memories of visiting the beach, boating in the Navesink, going to restaurants in Red Bank and hiking in the numerous beautiful Monmouth County Parks. I am looking forward to these activities with our two boys, but if Fair View Cemetery’s crematorium is built less than half of a mile away from our home, I am afraid that these activities will slowly kill or permanently disable them. 

The crematorium poses a serious health risk to everyone, especially pregnant woman and children within a six mile radius. When a body is cremated, it releases dangerous toxins like mercury, dioxins including TCDD, hydrochloric acid, nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, and carbon monoxide. All of these pollutants have demonstrated negative health effects such as cancer, childhood developmental issues, fetal developmental issues, kidney damages, and asthma related problems.

Being pregnant is nerve wrecking enough under normal conditions, but after reading numerous medical studies, I am extremely concerned about the potential health risks to my unborn child. For mothers who live near a crematorium, the risk of stillborn is 4% higher. The risk of the life threatening brain abnormality anencephalus is 5% higher. Anencephalus is defined as a fetus lacking all or most of the brain making it incompatible with life. Yes, that is a graphic and disturbing thought, however, that is the severity of the situation. 

The proposed crematorium will produce up to 84 pounds of mercury a year. That means infants within a two mile radius will be exposed to 280 times the recommended maximum value of mercury intake. Children within a two mile radius will be exposed to 70 times the recommended maximum levels of mercury. According to the NJ Department of Health, “repeated exposure to breathing mercury metal vapor affects the human brain, spinal cord, eyes, and kidneys. It may cause mood changes; inability to concentrate; memory loss; a fine shaking, tingling, or loss of feeling in the hand, tongue or eyelid; discoloration of the cornea and lens of the eye; disturbances of vision; and kidney disease.” 

The most dangerous toxin that is released, TCDD, is a known carcinogen or cancer causing agent for humans1. This is the same primary chemical compound found in Agent Orange. This is a chemical produced primarily for chemical research, but is found in levels significantly above recommended safety thresholds near industrial sites involved in the burning of organic and inorganic materials found in a crematorium. This chemical is odorless and colorless, with the potential to penetrate very deeply into the lungs when inhaled. It persists in the body and low levels of exposure will accumulate over time resulting in some of the worst case health scenarios. It has direct links to cancer as well as other developmental effects such as reproductive issues, birth defects, cleft palates, and organ development2.

The proposed site of this crematorium is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, apartments, and highly trafficked businesses. This should disqualify it for what is basically an industrial incinerator which will spew tons of toxic pollutants into the air on an annual basis. 

Please, I urge you, to not allow the 66,000 residents within four miles of this potential crematorium to be exposed to these dangerous chemicals. I can’t imagine my two sons potentially growing up so close to something so dangerous and unnecessary. Please, before you make a decision, ask yourself, is this something you would want in your backyard? Threatening to damage the health of the people you love the most? 

-Megan R. 


1) Association between dioxin and cancer incidence and mortality: a meta-analysis JinmingXu1,*Yaoye1, * Fang Huang1, HanwenChen1, HanWu2, Jian Huang3, JianHu4, DajingXia1 & YihuaWu1).

2) World Health Organization https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dioxins-and-their-effects-on-human-health


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A Letter from Megan R.

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