Bill Seeks Right to Liquefy Human Remains

By Lindsay Hood
|  Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011  |  Updated 5:26 PM PDT
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A California state Assemblyman is trying to pass a bill that would allow people to have their bodily remains liquefied.

Assemblyman Jeff Miller, from Riverside/Orange County, authored bill AB 4 that would give people the opportunity to have their remains liquefied by alkaline hydrolysis.

The new technique is thought to be a green alternative to cremation, according to Assemblyman Miller's website.

Only a few companies sell the pressure vessel in the United States, according to Lou Schaeffer sales manager for Water Resolution in Brownsberg, IN. He said the procedure is already used with animals and now the company is looking to get permission to use a larger version for human remains.

The company has only sold two of the vessels, Schaffer said, one to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the other to the University of Florida. He said both research facilities use the vessels to dispose of bodies used in the course of research.

If passed, the bill would give people another option to dispose of remains.

In alkaline hydration, the body is placed in the chamber, which is filled with a potassium hydroxide solution. The solution dissolves the body tissue in the water, which can be safely be disposed of without worry of hazardous waste. Manufacturers like Schaefer say the machine uses one-tenth the energy of a fire cremation and does not pollute the air.

The bill is currently in the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection. Each state has separate laws regarding the disposal of human remains.

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