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Resomation vs Cremation

Over the last several months, resomation and cremation have been hot topics in our local media (no pun intended).  In case you have missed the debate, a local Manchester funeral director wants to be the first funeral home in the country to commercially offer resomation.  Resomation, otherwise known as alkaline hydrolysis, is a process that uses high pressure heated water and acid to reduce the body to calcium phosphate. Resomation is being touted nationwide as an eco-friendly alternatve to cremation and has been referred to as bio-cremation.  It seems like anything that is perceived to be eco-friendly automatically gets the green light.  And this was initially the case with resomation.  The NH Statehouse approved the resomation process and was going to regulate it as a form of cremation.  But the State Senate recently reversed the decision and decided that resomation has not place in New Hampshire.

Do I agree with the decision?  Yes and No.  While I have been interviewed on NH Public Radio, WMUR and have been quoted in the Union Leader, Concord Monitor and in several funeral service trade magazines about my opposition to resomation as a eco-friendly alternative to cremation, I am not opposed to an individual’s right to be able to select resomation as a option if they so desire.

My major problem with this entire issue is the fact that resomation was initially going to be regulated by the State just like cremation.  And the resomation process was already being marketed as a form of cremation that was better for the environment.  However, the resomation process has very few similarities to the cremation process.  I am also not convinced that resomation has any more or less impact on the environment than cremation.  While the resomation process has no airborn emissions, there is a significant electrical demand to heat the water.  In NH, a good percentage of our electricity is generated by coal burning plants.  So, one needs to take a look at the entire resomation process from beginning to end to determine it’s true environmental impact.

You know my opinion on resomation but what is yours.

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