Funeral Home Ordered to Cease
the Liquid Cremation of Bodies
America’s first funeral home
to cremate bodies by liquefying them has been ordered to stop performing
The process called alkaline
hydrolysis, or also known as resomation, uses lye and heat, to speed up
the natural process of a human body breaking down.
In an age where ecological
and environmental policies are rife, and governments are pressuring citizens
to adopt more eco-friendly habits, this latest government intervention
Resomation is actually a
more environmentally sound means by which to manage human remains disposition.
The process was first developed in the U.S. in the 1990s to dispose of
animal carcasses, and it has also been used by the Mayo Clinic and the
University of Florida to dispose of human cadavers.
The process all takes place
in a large stainless-steel cylinder, into which water and lye are added,
along with 300-degree plus heat and 60 lbs of pressure per square inch.
The result is a coffee-colored liquid that can be safely disposed of down
a drain. The remaining bone fragments are ground to a powder and
given to the family, much like a ‘tradition’ cremation.
The Chairman of the National
Funeral Directors Association’s Green Burial Work Group, James Olson, claims
that this liquid cremation “merely speeds up the body’s natural decomposition
process into a matter of hours”.
Of the recent decision to
halt the process at the Ohio Funeral Home, Olson said, “burning a body
at 2000-degree heat has more of a ‘yuck factor’, and is more unnatural,
than putting it into a solution where it’s just naturally going to break
Of course, the Church, does
not view the “flushing away” of human remains as within the “teaching that
persons should be handled respectfully after they died” claims Deacon Tom
Berg Jr. of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.
In a modern age where cremation
is significantly on the increase in the United States, yet it proves not
to be the most environmentally-friendly process in terms of emissions,
surely new methods of disposition are required. Methods that are
efficient, cost-effective and minimize impact upon our environment are
what our society needs.
I do wonder if the current
local government interference by means of refusing to issue permits, has
more to do with a huge, largely corporate-run death care industry that
refuses to embrace change.
Funeral Home boss, Jeff Edwards,
claims that there is no law stipulating that resomation should not be a
means of human remains disposition, and had used the method on 19 bodies
since January this year. He plans to seek legal advice to contest
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