Georgia senators: Allow bodies to be dissolved in chemicals

Georgia Senate chambers
Georgia Senate chambers

ATLANTA – Georgia’s state Senate is approving a bill that would allow funeral providers to dissolve dead bodies in chemicals.

Senators voted 35-10 Monday to approve Senate Bill 296, sending it to the House for more action.

Under current law, the process called alkaline hydrolysis is not illegal. But funeral homes have to own a large cremation furnace to be licensed by the state to cremate bodies. The bill would eliminate that requirement for funeral homes using alkaline hydrolysis.

State Sen. Bill Heath, a Bremen Republican, said paving the way for alkaline hydrolysis was unintentionally omitted from an earlier overhaul of funeral service laws.

Bodies are dissolved through a combination of lye, heat and pressure during the process, which is billed as an alternative to cremation.

The process is already used to dispose of animal and pet remains. Proponents say it uses less power and produces fewer pollutants than traditional cremation.