Monday 30 November 2020

Cremation by water is environmentally safe, new research shows

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Resomation, or water cremation, an alternative to traditional burials or cremation by fire, is a safe alternative and there are no environmental reasons to reject it, according to research by the TNO scientific institute.

The research was commissioned by Dutch funeral group Yarden, which wants the government to change the law to make resomation legal.

Resomation is based on alkaline hydrolysis: the body is placed in a pressurised vessel that is then filled with a mixture of water and lye, and heated to around 160 degrees. The elevated pressure prevents the body boiling. Instead, the body is broken down into its chemical components, which takes upwards of three hours.

The process was patented in the US in 1888 and is legal in some US states and other countries but not in the Netherlands.

The new TNO research states that the process can meet environmental demands, Yarden said on its website, adding that earlier TNO research showed resomation is less taxing on the environment than other forms of burial or cremation.

A survey by Yarden showed that 23% of people would consider resomation as an alternative to traditional cremations.

‘In some cultures and religions, cremation is not an option,’ said Yarden’s director of funeral arangments Sabrina Franken. ‘We see resomation as a mature, respectful and durable alternative. Water becomes the most important element, rather than fire or earth.’

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