New California Law Changes How Cremations Are Done

The popularity of cremation techniques has evolved greatly over the past two decades. And, this growing trend is set to continue in 2018 and beyond. With the passage of a new California law, the cremation industry is being revolutionized. On October 15, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law into place that would allow for water cremations to be done legally in the state.

Water cremation, often referred to as alkaline hydrolysis, is a new approach to cremation for families looking for a more sensitive and environmentally friendly option. With this new cremation method, the body is never burned or exposed to an open flame. This way there are no harmful gases or pollutants produced. Cremation experts argue that this method mimics a more natural tissue removal process, while still treating the corpse with the utmost respect.

To start a water cremation the body is placed in a high-pressured steel chamber that is then filled with an alkaline solution made up of 5 percent potassium hydroxide and 95 percent water.

Unlike in traditional cremation methods where the body is burned at temperatures in excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, with a water cremation, the chamber, not the body, is heated. The chamber is slowly heated to a maximum temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time. In this heated alkaline solution, the body’s tissue slowly dissolves, leaving behind only the bones.

The bones are then carefully removed from the solution, dried and crushed into ash. With water cremated the cremated ashes have a much lighter color and a more consistent texture similar to that of granulated sugar. With traditional cremation methods, the cremated remains are often darker and denser due to the harsh procedures used. Although water cremation is still a relatively new process, with the passage of the new California law, cremation experts expect the method to grow quickly in popularity.

If you are interested in learning more about cremation options or would like to take the burden off of your loved ones and pre-plan a cremation for yourself, feel free to contact our knowledgeable staff at (844-305-4531).