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Re: embalming and environment

Crematories are a source of dioxin and furan emissions.  I don't know how 
much cremation goes on in the Netherlands.  If cremation is practiced, 
though, and if it turns out that whether the body is embalmed has an 
effect on the quantity of dioxins and furans released when a body is 
cremated, you might want to consider that in your recommendation as 

The real pollution prevention alternative (and only if this could be
considered to be closed-loop, of course) would be Soylent Green. 

I could apologize for making a comment that was in such poor taste, 
but then it only gets worse.

Kirsten Sinclair Rosselot, P.E.
Process Profiles
P.O. Box 8264
Calabasas, CA 91372-8264


> P2techies: 
> please send a copy of any responses directly to e-mail address below.
> >Dear Sir/Madam,
> >
> >We are asked by the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and
> >Environment to investigate the possible environmental impacts of the use
> >of the embalming product Arthyl24. This product is produced by Hygecobel
> >in France. It is used in France, Belgium and probably also other
> >countries to conserve bodies for a short period (approximately 10 days)
> >after death. This practice is called thanatopraxy. The main reason for
> >this short conservation is to inhibit decomposition of the body during
> >the period that the body lies in state and is visited by relatives and
> >friends.
> >At this moment, conservation (even short conservation) of dead bodies in
> >The Netherlands is forbidden by law except in special cases such as when
> >a body has to be transported abroad. However, many undertakers wood like
> >to have this law changed and a group of them has requested the
> >government to allow short conservation by law in the near future. In
> >considering a possible change of the law, the government also wants to
> >know the environmental impacts of short conservation.
> >For this reason, we were asked to study these impacts. As part of this
> >study, I have been looking at Internet to gain more information about
> >embalming and its environmental aspects and I found your adress
> >(http://pprc.pnl.gov/pprc/rpd/statefnd/turi/formalde.html). I would be
> >very grateful if you can help me with a few questions.
> >
> >First some information: 
> >Arthyl24 consists of a formaline solution (25% vol formaldehyde in
> >water), salts (mainly sodium benzoate, 0.34 mol l-1), a dye: eosine (ca
> >260 mg l-1) and a few other compounds in low concentration. To conserve
> >a body for a short period, this solution is diluted by a factor of 50
> >and the about 5 l of the diluted solution is pumped into the body,
> >mainly to replace the blood. After doing this, a body contains
> >approximately 24.6 g formaldehyde, 5 g sodium benzoate and 26 mg eosine.
> >
> >Then my questions:
> >1) What happens with the formaldehyde (note: a dilute solution
> >containing 0.5% vol formaldehyde is used) after inhection in the body?
> >Does it react with compounds such as proteins, fats etc. and if so, how
> >quick are these reactions and what are the reaction products? Are any
> >hazardous compounds formed in these reactions?
> >2) Does (a part of the) formaldehyde evaporate out of  the body and if
> >so, what concentration in air can be expected then?
> >3) What happens with the formaldehyde, sodium benzoate and eosine after
> >the body has been buried? I expect that after the funeral first the
> >coffin has to decay before the compounds are released into the soil and,
> >possibly, groundwater. Once in the soil, the compounds might be either
> >degraded by bacteria or transported in the soil, groundwater and finally
> >surface waters.
> >
> >Do you have any information about these problems? We are also interested
> >in scientific publications or references about this subject,
> >particularly regarding our questions.
> >We would be very grateful if you can help us.
> >
> >Sincerely Yours,
> >
> >Dr. M.G. Mennen
> >National Institute for Public Health and Environment
> >Inspection Research and Environmental Incident Services
> >P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands
> >tel. 31.30.2742998
> >fax: 31.30.2290919
> >E-mail: Marcel.Mennen@rivm.nl
> >