Sunday, September 24, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Sunday, September 24, 2023 | Back issues
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New Wave in Cremation Is Under Fire

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) - A funeral home says Ohio illegally denied it the right to cremate a client's wife by alkaline hydrolysis, which he requested, and which is more environmentally friendly than traditional cremation.

Edwards Funeral Service sued the state and the Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors in Franklin County Court. It wants the defendants enjoined from exceeding their authority by denying the widower and others the right to dispose of their loved ones through alkaline hydrolysis.

Alkaline hydrolysis dissolves body tissues using heat and lye, turning it into a liquid that is more environmentally friendly than cremation, the funeral home says. The resulting liquid is sterile and can be poured onto land or water with no harm to the environment. Family members can receive remains similar to what they receive after a traditional cremation.

Alkaline hydrolysis kills all viruses and bacteria, uses less power and emits less greenhouse gases than cremation. It has been used at universities and research facilities to dispose of the remains of animal cadavers and some human remains.

Edwards Funeral Home is the first funeral home in the United States to offer it commercially as an alternative to cremation, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

Edwards wants the defendants and their subagents enjoined from refusing to accept death certificates or issue burial transit permits because the body is cremated through alkaline hydrolysis. It is represented by Mark Phillips with Mularski, Bonham, Dittmer & Phillips, of Gahanna, Ohio.

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