People's Memorial advocates for consumer protection and choice for funeral and related end-of-life issues. Our advocacy priorities are:
- Pricing Transparency
- Protection from Predatory Sales Tactics
- Increasing Consumer Choices
PMA is a founding member of the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) to function as a unifying force for consumer advocacy at the federal level.
People's Memorial is currently advocating Washington legislators to legalized Biochemical Hydrolysis (also known as Aquamation) as a greener disposition option.
Please find and contact your legislator, encouraging he/she to support this legislation!
Senate Bill 5673/House Bill 1700 makes available to consumers an environmentally responsible, ecologically beneficially alternative to cremation by flame. This bill adds Biochemical Hydrolysis as an alternative final disposition.
Globally, cremation rates have been consistently and significantly rising for several decades. Cremation has been rising as the preferred final disposition, currently at 51% nationally. However, in Washington the cremation rate is 77.4%
With such a high preference for cremation, it naturally seems that if a greener form of cremation is available, it should be a legal option for Washington residents.
Biochemical Hydrolysis (also known as water cremation) is a more environmentally friendly alternative to flame cremation. A benefit of Biochemical Hydrolysis is that it is a non-combustive process. This means that, unlike in flame cremation, mercury is not vaporized.
Typically the flame cremation process CO2, greenhouse gases and carcinogenic toxins are among the 219 known emissions released. It also consumes 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas and releases about 3 grams of mercury. In the last 5 years alone, Washington State has seen1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas burned and 1400 pounds of mercury vaporized.
What does the legislation do?
- Gives consumers a green alternative to traditional cremation;
- Conforms biochemical hydrolysis to existing law;
- Complies with RCW 68.50.160 that gives each person the right to choose their own disposition:
What is Biochemical Hydrolysis?
- Accelerates the natural decomposition process;
- Uses heat, pressure, time, water and potassium hydroxide to dissolve human tissue;
- Uses state of the art technology and system components;
- Process takes 3-4 hours
What is the Environmental Impact?
Reduces the use of fossil fuels;
- Eliminates carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxide (NOX) and Mercury emissions;
- Eliminates air emissions (vastly improves air and water quality);
- Reduces carbon output by 75% (v flame);
- Uses 1/8 the amount of energy (v flame);
What is the Public Safety impact?
- Destroys all pathogens;
- Process generates a sterile liquid solution;
- Liquid can be released to waste wate systems as non-potable water;
- Safe for lakes, rivers and streams;
- California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Wyoming (16) have already legalized Biochemical Hydrolysis.
How does this benefit Consumers?
- Freedom of Choice;Green Alternative;
- Dignified Process;
How does this benefit the funeral and cemetery profession?
- No change in funeral service;
- No mandated use;
- No strict zoning law;
- Revenue generator;
- Wave of the future;
- Washington Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association
- Washington State Funeral Directors Association
- People’s Memorial Association (funeral education and advocacy nonprofit)
The FCA was instrumental in getting the Federal Trade Commission to adopt a set of standards for funeral home pricing called The Funeral Rule (1984). PMA's biennial Funeral Price Survey was a key component of this successful effort. The Funeral Rule standards were revolutionary in enabling consumers to get accurate price information from funeral homes. PMA and the FCA are now working to update the Funeral Rule to the 21st Century, by requiring funeral homes to post their pricing on their websites.
Played a key role in changing Washington law to place the funeral industry under the state’s Consumer Protection Act (2002) and helped pass another law legalizing the scattering of ashes of the deceased.
Succeeded in protecting the rights of Washington families to care for their own dead (2005).
Successfully advocated for the right of Washington's religious and cultural minorities to have up to 24 hours to perform religious or cultural rituals with an unembalmed, unrefrigerated body (2007).
PMA worked side by side with the funeral industry to bring about passage of Designated Agent legislation, once again benefiting consumers (2011).