Sunday, June 08, 2008


Everyone has a personal idea of our final destination after we die, But what about the carcass we leave behind? The lifeless body that used to be our friend or relative is buried or cremated. I certainly dont need mine at this point.

When I'm dead, I don't think I'm going to care what happens with my body. However, I realize my family might not feel the same, so perhaps the idea of being dissolved with lye as opposed to a more traditional burial or cremation, would be problematic for them.

If you're new to the idea of alkaline hydrolysis, here's how it works; A 300°F solution of a concentrated lye (sodium hydroxide), is sprayed on a body at 60 pounds of pressure per square inch in what looks sort of like a body-shaped stainless steel pressure cooker. Sound appetizing?

The base hydrolyzes the tissues, leaving a syrupy brown liquid and some bone residue.
We do this with animal carcasses today and the solution is washed down the drain.

Searching the AP, I found there are two medical centers using the equipment for research cadavers (University of Florida and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN). They flush the remains, too. Although the solution has a strong odor, it is sterile and does not pose a threat to the water supply. The equipment is a little more expensive than what you need for cremation, but the process may be more environmental friendly than cremation, which releases carbon dioxide and mercury from dental amalgams.

Minnesota and New Hampshire are the only two states that have considered this process and when offered in the NY State legislature, it was called Hannibal Lecter’s Bill because NY State Senator Kemp Hannon’s (R-Nassau) similar name.

Kemp chairs the Senate Health Committee. (pictured left)

It’s too bad we don’t have this option, it’s the most GREEN friendly method of disposing of bodies, and for those of us who live every waking hour working to diminish our carbon footprint, we would want all options available, even in death.

With all the State Senate races this year, maybe we could get a few candidates to opine on this issue.


Anonymous said...

We should make food out of the people who died healthy.
The sci-fi movie I saw on that back in the 70's had Green in the title. Coincidence?

Eric said...

That's disgusting. By the way, the Movie was called, "Soylent Green."

Anonymous said...

Hey Alderman Mike- Not sure if I agree with thee- but if you want to remain frozen prior to actual death-in my earlier days in Suffolk County- I helped a local corporation go through its growing pains. I believe it is still in operation and was a subect of various stories when it housed the head of the late Ted Williams. I believe that the head is still there, as the family fights it within our glorious court system

The Sci Fi picture that 9:11 might be recalling is Soylent Green.
hey thanks for the levity in todays worried world.
Shelly Z

also make certain that you watch City and County tomorrow at 7:00- guest will be Richard Mannuck- historian from Conn- serves on the quadcentenial board. A halh hour dvd will record the growth of Kingsston & Esopus along with the history of the Hudson River.

Anonymous said...

The only real resistance to cremation and this acid mulcifier is all the religous dogma that that signifies the traditional burial.
You would have to challenge the "following flock" mentality of a majority of the American people.