State Halts Liquid Cremation at Ohio Funeral Home

March 24, 2011
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imageA Columbus funeral director is in hot water with the state for liquefying bodies instead of cremating or burying them.

Edwards Funeral Service, 1166 Parsons Ave., could be the first funeral home nationwide to employ a process called alkaline hydrolysis that uses heat and lye to render body tissues to liquid. The liquid is then flushed into city sewers, and family members are given crushed bone fragments.

Funeral director Jeff Edwards said he has performed the hydrolysis process, which he calls “aquamation,” on 19 bodies since January and was about to perform his 20th when state officials declared on Thursday that it “is not an authorized form of disposition of a dead human body.”

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“They did not tell me to stop doing it,” Edwards said of the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors and the Ohio Department of Health. “The fact I cannot get a (burial) permit effectively means I cannot do it.”

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