California Lawmakers Seek Liquefaction as Alternative to Cremation
It sounds like the stuff of horror movies — placing a body in a steel tube and then covering it with a mixture of water and acid until most of the remains are liquefied.
But it’s actually a scientific process called alkaline hydrolysis that is on track toward becoming an alternative to cremation in California. Lawmakers are unanimously supporting a bill that would legalize the procedure with heavy oversight at mortuaries and funeral homes. Last year Florida passed a similar law, but no business has a license to perform the procedure.
California Assemblyman Jeff Miller sponsored the bill when he learned that it was an eco-friendly alternative to cremation.
“California is famous for going green, not only just as a way of life but as a way of taking care of loved ones in end of life,” said Miller’s legislative director, Johannes Escudero.
The decomposition process occurs with water and potassium hydroxide, which is then heated for at least three hours. Tissue and organs are dissolved into the liquid, while the bone is left behind as an ashy mixture similar to a cremation. The leftover water is treated and then flushed down a drain.
The process is pollution free because it releases no greenhouse gases into the air.