Most Common FAQ about Funeral and Embalming
Funeral service industry members frequently declare that dead bodies are a source of contagion to the general public, and that embalming is critical to prevent the distribute of disease. Some will likely claim that unembalmed dead bodies must be buried in a casket as well as a vault to prevent “contamination” associated with groundwater. These assertions are not true. The myth of contagion from dead bodies is amongst the most persistent of American funeral industry, and it’s important for journalists to know there isn’t a evidence, peer-reviewed or otherwise, to justify it. In fact, there is overwhelming controlled evidence against it.
FAQ about Dead Bodies and society risk
Question: Aren’t dead bodies full of dangerous bacteria that may make the living sick?
Answer: No, not usually. It’s crucial to know the difference between disease-causing microorganisms and the normal (if unpleasant) bacteria that produce natural decay. To put it admittedly, decomposition is a smell problem, not a health problem. Here’s a paragraph your journal Perpsectives in Health (published with the Pan-American Health Organization) that sums it up very well:
“The microorganisms that take part in decomposition are not the type that cause disease, [Oliver] Morgan’s write-up explains. And most viruses and bacteria that do cause disease cannot survive many hours in a dead body. An apparent exception may be the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, which has been shown to meet 16 days in any corpse under refrigeration. ”
Question: What about groundwater? Don’t decomposing corpses ruin?
Answer: Not if the cemetery is properly situated from an important aquifer. Decomposition is nature’s means of recycling the body’s elements, and we need to help keep this in perspective. Humans will not be different in death from other animals. Deer, raccoons, and livestock die in the open all the time. Undertake and don’t are embalmed or used in caskets or concrete vaults, yet we don’t entrance hall our city councils for mandatory taxidermy for wildlife or livestock.
No municipal authorities rush to completely clean up roadkill (although we would wish them to, for aesthetic reasons) to “prevent the particular spread of disease. ” Note also which no state law requires using a casket or some sort of vault for burial. In the event leakage from buried bodies were a public health and fitness concern, we’d expect at least one state would have laws requiring some form of containment of corpses undercover, yet there are simply no such laws. Here is a post on the AK Lander website about the UK burial laws.
While it wouldn’t be a good idea to bury bodies very next to a stream or water table, the natural microorganisms from the soil do a good job of deteriorating and filtering the goods of decomposition:
Question: Don’t caskets and vaults prevent leakage from dead bodies?
Answer: NO, caskets and vaults are notorious for cracking and allowing air, water, and other fluids to get in and out. Any honest cemetery worker will tell you there’s no way to know what condition the casket and vault will be in if the body must be exhumed, and that it’s common to have to drain gallons of water from a supposedly “sealed” casket.
A 1994 study by the Monument Builders of North America on how well or poorly caskets held up over time confirms the anecdotes cemetery workers have relayed to us. They found significant problems with caskets even in mausoleums, an environment presumably “gentler” to the casket than underground burial:
“MBNA found that the Catholic Cemetery Association was documenting an 86% failure rate or problems with wood and cloth-covered caskets, 62% for nonsealing metal, and 46% for ‘protective” or ‘sealer’ caskets. Even with the somewhat better results, the report states in bold print, ‘It is highly unlikely that such protective sealer metal caskets employ sufficient mechanisms to contain body fluids or gases.’”