Whether or not you’ve read mortician Caitlin Doughty’s memoir, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, or you were a fan of HBO’s Six Feet Under you may have never considered the impact of burials on our environment. Or for that matter, cremation too and its impact on 🌍.
Here are some interesting facts:
✅ Conventional burials in the U.S. use approximately 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluid (827,060 gallons of which is formaldehyde, methanol, and benzene), 20 million board feet of hardwoods (including rainforest woods), 1.6 million tons of concrete, 17,000 tons of copper and bronze, and 64,500 tons of steel, annually. Many of those materials leech into the surrounding soil over time.
✅ Cremation isn’t a much better alternative, using fossil fuels to maintain high temperatures for multiple hours and producing 1.74 billion pounds of CO2 emissions annually in the United States. Cremation is the most popular disposition option in the United States (56.1 percent) and Canada (73.1 percent), with over 1.8 million and 224,000 cremations in 2020, respectively, according to the Cremation Association of North America.
✅ Crematory workers (embalmers in particular) have a 13% higher death rate, are at 8 times higher risk for leukemia, and 3 times higher risk for ALS compared to the general population.*
There has to be a better way, right? Stay tuned for more…….
*: Centers for Disease Control, Final Rights by Lisa Carlson and Joshua Slocum