Technology new to ‘death care’ industry
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/02/2012 -- Ryan Cattoni recently showed visitors his $200,000 alkaline hydrolysis machine, as he is the first funeral director in Illinois to offer “flameless cremation,”.
The machine is the hub of his recently opened AquaGreen Dispositions LLC, which uses the new body disposal process using lye, water and heat to dissolve human remains in a matter of hours.
“I’m really passionate about this process,” said Cattoni. “It’s a much gentler cycle on the body — as funny as that may sound.”
Cattoni, 23, opens the machine’s hatch to reveal a steel basket meant to hold a body. “[The manufacturer] said they can put a 500-pound person in the machine,” he said.
While hospitals have used the method to dispose of cadavers since the mid-1990s, alkaline hydrolysis is just catching on in the “death care” industry. The process is a greener, more eco-friendly way to dispose of human remains, say supporters, noting it mimics natural decay but at a much faster rate.
“When we do it, there is no [chimney] stack, so it’s all captured in the liquid,” said Joe Wilson, CEO of Bio-Response Solutions, the Pittsboro, Ind., company that manufactured Cattoni’s machine. “Some people will say it’s throwing Mama down the drain .... The fact of the matter is, when families are offered both options, over 80% choose this over flame cremation.”
The process is only legal in eight states, not necessarily including Illinois. Although last year the Illinois Legislature recognized alkaline hydrolysis as a means of disposing of human remains, but did not establish rules for the industry. A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which oversees the funeral industry, recently said that “alkaline hydrolysis is not yet permitted” in the state.
“This is going to sound bad, but she should re-read the law,” Cattoni said. “Right now, I’ve gotten licenses and I’ve told everyone exactly what I’m doing. It is legal.”
Cattoni said he has served two clients so far and emphasizes the dignity and respect with which he conducts his business. He charges $2,199 for the service. The price includes a faux marble urn.
“The biggest problem is that people are misinformed ... about the process; they don’t know exactly how it works,” Cattoni said.
The process involves submerging a body in a solution of 95% water and 5% chemicals, including lye, which helps break down the body. Applying heat at up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit speeds up the reaction.
“At room temperature, this would probably take six weeks,” Wilson said. At the end of the process, liquid remains are flushed down a rubber pipe into a drain in the floor and whisked to a water treatment plant while bone remains are crushed and placed in an urn.
Cattoni’s mother Debbie Cattoni said her son is the first member of his family to enter the funeral business.
We’re very proud of him,” she said. “He wants to make sure he does things the right way, the respectful way. He’s not trying to change anyone’s mind. It’s being able to offer a more green, environmentally friendly option.”
FuneralServicesProvider.com (http://www.funeralservicesprovider.com) guides those who have lost a loved one through the entire cremation process. Established in 1993, the firm is family-owned and operated. It is a non-denominational company providing a variety of options, merchandise, and services to families of all ages, creeds, and ethnic backgrounds.
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