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Bio-cremation is burial alternative

May 20, 2010 at 9:31 PM

SACRAMENTO, May 20 (UPI) -- The California General Assembly unanimously passed a bill supporters said would allow bio-cremation to serve as a human remains disposal choice.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not expressed an opinion on the bill, the Sacramento Bee reported Thursday.

"This is going to be a whole new industry that's going to really help California, and help families that want choices in their end-of-life options," Assemblyman Jeff Miller, the bill's sponsor, said.

Miller's measure would allow mortuaries to dissolve dead bodies in an environmentally friendly way through alkaline hydrolysis, a process involving a combination of water pressure, heat and alkalinity that is more familiarly known as bio-cremation, the Bee reported.

Bio-cremation would probably cost a few hundred dollars more than incineration, but thousands less than a conventional funeral service and burial. The process results in a non-harmful sterile liquid that can be disposed of at a water treatment plant, the newspaper said.

"There's no smoke, no emission, no carbon footprint, nothing left to destroy the Earth," Chris Miller, owner of Thomas Miller Mortuary, said.

Bio-cremation is legal in Minnesota, Maine, Florida, and Oregon, Jessica Koth of the National Funeral Directors Association said.

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