Crematoriums are facing a furious backlash after new figures revealed they are making huge sums from selling off gold harvested from the bodies they incinerate.
Swiss consumer magazine Saldo has shown that one crematorium alone – Nordheim, in Zurich – made CHF 335,000 (GBP 300,000) from the trade.
Another crematorium in Basel has made CHF 167,000 (GBP 150,000) from teeth and hip implants.
Gold fillings, crowns and other implants are melted down and sold for scrap back onto the gold market without even telling the loved ones’ families.
The average filling – weighing three grammes – could be worth more than CHF 181 (GBP 160).
Now city councils – who run the crematoriums – are under fire for the cynical cashing on already grief-stricken relatives.
The earnings would go directly to city council coffers as the crematories are public institutions, the consumer watchdog experts said.
Saldo found that the managers of crematories in cities like Bern and Solothurn would simply not bother to get permission from the mourning families.
Officials from Crematory Bern argued their standard terms and conditions make it clear that dental gold would be harvested.
The Saldo watchdogs revealed that only crematories in Zurich, Basel and St Gallen obtain direct permission to sell on dental gold and the expensive cobalt or nickel from hip implants.
Law expert Professor Pascal Rey from Freiburg University says families are being robbed.
He said: “Generally, dental gold belongs to the relatives. They have every right to receive it after the cremation.”
Netizens were outraged.
One social media user – ‘Tobiheart’ – said: “Dying is costing a fortune already. That they are cashing in this way is totally unacceptable.”
‘Dr-g’ added: “This is Switzerland – where the wallet trumps morals.”
‘Roland Reinhard’ argued: “We’re paying taxes all our life. In the end, we are ripped off one final time. The crematory managers should be ashamed!”
‘Portapia Andrea’ fumed: “Canton authorities are eligible to do whatever they want. And they are getting away with it. Unbelievable!”
‘Franz Meister’ commented: “This is disturbing and hard to believe. And it’s clearly theft!”
‘Marc Hasler’ said: “Well, it happened before, 70 years ago in Germany. Now they call it additional income.”
And ‘Serge Schmid’ concluded: “It’s modern-day grave robbery.”
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Story By: Thomas Hochwarter, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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