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PMA advocates for you

Advocacy

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.

Alkaline Hydrolysis

People's Memorial is currently advocating Washington legislators to legalize Alkaline Hydrolysis (also known as Aquamation) as a greener disposition option.

Please find and contact your legislator, encouraging him/her to support this legislation!

Summary:

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.

Background:

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.

Alkaline Hydrolysis is a more environmentally friendly alternative to flame cremation. A benefit of Alkaline Hydrolysis is that it is a non-combustive process.  This means that, unlike in flame cremation, mercury is not vaporized. 

Typically during 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 seen 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas burned and 1,400 pounds of mercury vaporized.

What does the legislation do?

  • Gives consumers a green alternative to traditional cremation
  • Conforms Alkaline Hydrolysis to existing law
  • Complies with RCW 68.50.160 that gives each person the right to choose their own disposition

What is Alkaline 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
  • Generates a sterile liquid solution
  • Liquid can be released to waste water 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 (15 states) have already legalized Alkaline 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

In support:

  • Washington Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association
  • Washington State Funeral Directors Association
  • People’s Memorial Association

Advocacy Wins

  • 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.

  • PMA 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).

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