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06/17/2021 10:44 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=35244
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 30, 2021 02:43 PM
From: Representative Mary Jo Daley
To: All House members
Subject: Water-Based Cremation
 
In the near future I will be introducing legislation amending the PA Consolidated Statutes Section 1991 to establish a definition for cremation.  This definition would include a cremation process known as alkaline hydrolysis.

Alkaline hydrolysis, also known as water-based cremation, is a method of cremation that uses an alkaline solution and a pressurized steel chamber to break the body down to its bare minimum.  A combination of the alkaline solution, pressure, and heat creates the ash, similar to flame cremation.  Like traditional flame cremation, the ashes are then given to the family in an urn.  With alkaline hydrolysis, the family receives approximately 20% more cremains.

Alkaline hydrolysis is considerably more environmentally friendly for handling end-of-life remains. More than four million gallons of toxic embalming fluids and 20 million feet of wood are put in the ground in the U.S. every year, while a single flame cremation emits as much carbon dioxide as a 1,000-mile car trip.  Because nothing is burned during the procedure, no toxic gases or air pollutants are produced.  Flame cremation requires temperatures ranging from 1,600 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the temperature in the chambers used in alkaline hydrolysis range from 200 to 350 degrees.  In addition to the lower energy costs, water cremation is a zero emissions process that uses far fewer natural resources resulting in a smaller carbon footprint versus traditional flame cremation.
Alkaline hydrolysis is currently permitted in nineteen states including our neighbor to the south, Maryland.  Other surrounding states, New Jersey, Ohio and New York have pending legislation creating water cremation regulations.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this piece of legislation that would give Pennsylvania families an eco-friendly alternative when it comes handling the remains of our loved ones.