Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A greener resting place: Formaldehyde and funeral homes

Most Americans still choose
burial over cremation.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
The business of death is often a difficult one. How does a family put their loved one to rest? Do they choose cremation or burial? 

In 2010, more than 50 percent of Americans chose to bury their loved ones. 

Traditionally, burial practices have been difficult on the environment. What many people don’t realize, however, is that it is also very difficult on the morticians.

Although there is a trend toward greener burial practices:
  • Using biodegradable caskets
  • Dressing the deceased in clothing made from natural fiber
  • Using a combination of ethyl alcohol-polyethylene glycol for embalming
most bodies are still preserved with formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and morticians need to work with it almost daily as it is one of the major components used for embalming. 

From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, arsenic was the chemical of choice for embalming. When its poisonous long-term effects were revealed, arsenic was replaced with formaldehyde.

Since the 1980s, formaldehyde has been studied for its ill-effects.

Many funeral homes have made some changes in the way they handle the product, but most continue to use it regardless of the greener alternatives that are now available. 

Though more effective protective gear is used and many mortuaries have installed ventilation units at their work benches, the noxious fumes are simply being moved from inside to outside. 

A safer, greener option for formaldehyde removal

The best way to rid both the indoor and the outdoor air of formaldehyde is to use an air cleaner, which can be attached to a ventilator. 

Electrocorp's RAP series is a perfect
complement to a ventilation system
Electrocorp’s RAP series will take the air ventilators have sucked out from the room and clean it with activated carbon filters. The carbon will adsorb the chemicals and either release clean air back into the workroom or push it outdoors (depending on the air-flow configuration of the ventilation system).

Using an air cleaner to complement the ventilation system will not only help eradicate the toxic effects of formaldehyde for people working in the industry, but it will also create a greener working environment that reduces its toxic output.

Have you considered what imprint you’d like to leave on earth?  Will you support green practices in funeral homes? 

Post your comments, questions and concerns and we’d be happy to reply.

Show your support for a greener, healthier work environment by becoming a follower of this blog.

For more information on Electrocorp’s air cleaners, call us toll free at 1-866-667-0297 or contact us through our website.  

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