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Author Topic: State Vaulting/embalming laws are for protection of DNA
BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I was at a cemetary yesterday to supervise the interment of my Grandmother's ashes.

In the process, I was surprised to learn that even ashes require a burial vault.

After some discusion I have heard from several sources that our state requires burial vaults and embalming.

What really surprised me is that at least one funeral director was adament that the reason for these laws was to ensure that DNA could be collected shoule the body need to be exumed.

This brings to mind two questions:

1. Is this the reason for embalming/vaulting laws?

2. Can one get a sample of DNA from ashes (maybe the bits of bone)?

Beach...sounds like a lot of trouble and expense for little reason to me...Life!

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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You've been sold a bill of goods. Michigan does not require embalming
quote:
Michigan law exempts embalming if the remains are either buried or cremated within 48 hours. This 48 hour time frame starts at the time of death. If a person is not buried within this time limit embalming is then necessary. Most funeral homes will also require embalming regardless of the 48 hour time frame if the deceased is to be viewed by the public. Source: www.herrmannfuneralhome.com/things_to_know.html

In fact, the FTC has gone after Michigan Funeral parlor for just tha kind of stuff FTC Announces Results of Inspection of Funeral Homes in Michigan Area for Compliance with Consumer Protection Law

quote:
The FTC's Funeral Rule, promulgated by the Commission in 1984, was revised in 1994. One of the key requirements of the rule is that funeral homes must give consumers a copy of an itemized general price list, which they can use to comparison shop, at the beginning of any discussion regarding funeral arrangements, goods, services or prices. The general price list must contain a number of disclosures and other information -- including, for example, that embalming is not necessarily required by law. The FTC's rule also makes clear that consumers do not have to buy a package funeral, but, instead, may pick and choose the goods and services they want.

Same thing on vaults

quote:
Michigan or local law does not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries ask that you have such a container so that the grave will not sink in. Either a grave liner or burial vault will satisfy these requirements.
Source: http://www.gerstfuneralhomes.com/products/vaults.html


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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Thank you for the information. I guess what I was told is pretty much BS. That is what I expected, especially regarding the bit about DNA.

I think things get a little cloudy in the example of my Grand Mother. She was cremated in Florida, her remains shipped to me in Michigan, then buried in Indiana.

Beach...snopes, the place with all the answers...Life!

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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If you'd like to explore further, here is a page with links to state laws about funerals (the MIchigan link is, alas, dead).
http://www.funeralplan.com/funeralplan/consumer/statelaw.html

The Florida link give is al about licensing of funeral homes, but I found references--it's the same as Michigan.

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Dan the Strider
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I'm not even really sure what the point of burying ashes would be. They're even less a remnant of your loved one then their body. How much ash does the average human body create, anyway?

Of course, my opinion has always been that burials of any kind are a rediculous waste of resources. I'd like to see bodies get used as compost for a nice garden or something

--Dan


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Midway Bilbo
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:
...What really surprised me is that at least one funeral director was adament that the reason for these laws was to ensure that DNA could be collected shoule the body need to be exumed.

This brings to mind two questions:

1. Is this the reason for embalming/vaulting laws?
...


The "sealed" vault laws predate DNA testing. The original reasoning was to stop disease. I couldn't answer the DNA from ashes question - but most places it's still legal for family to take ashes home. I've heard (no doc) that many states have laws on no-dumping ashes - also you can't dump them on Federal property (e.g. Yellowstone). But if this is fact folks break 'em all the time.

Midway "pain in the ash" Bill


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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Dan the Strider:
I'm not even really sure what the point of burying ashes would be. They're even less a remnant of your loved one then their body. How much ash does the average human body create, anyway?

Of course, my opinion has always been that burials of any kind are a rediculous waste of resources. I'd like to see bodies get used as compost for a nice garden or something

--Dan


As for burying ashes, it happens more often than you would think. In this case, my Grandfather purchased the burial plots in 1945 and was buried there in 1983. It was their wishes to be buried side by side, so we honored that wish. As a side note she was cremated because moving ashes from state to state is a lot cheaper and easier than an occupied casket.

As for composting. In general terms composting is only for vegtable products. Bodies of animals and people might introduce diseases. It is for similar reasons that fecal material of carnivors is not used to fertilize.

Beach...I'm learning a lot in the process...Life!

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery


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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Dan the Strider:

Of course, my opinion has always been that burials of any kind are a rediculous waste of resources. I'd like to see bodies get used as compost for a nice garden or something

--Dan



Well, Dan, ol' kid, the Marsh Crematory in Noble, Georgia, has been trying that for twenty years, apparently. As of the last time I noticed, the state has discovered 139 bodies composting on their grounds.

Brad "they said the lighter on the crematorium was broken" from Georgia

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Dan the Strider
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:
As for composting. In general terms composting is only for vegtable products. Bodies of animals and people might introduce diseases. It is for similar reasons that fecal material of carnivors is not used to fertilize.

Good point! It seems sad there's not a better thing to do with your body after you die. I suppose donating it to medical science is an alternative.

I imagine it'd be possible to design a machine that would create a body into some kind of usuable fertilizer, but it'd probably be more trouble than it was worth.

--Dan


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the alaskan
The Red and the Green Stamps


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when carrying ashes from the crematorium to your car, please be extra careful.

The creamtor that took care of my father's remains said that he always carries the remains personally. The reason is because a woman was carrying her husband to her car when she tripped and fell, the ashes went all over the sidewalk. He said she was sobbing and trying to pick up the "dust" (he is a very skilled cremator) with her hands. Very very sad.

My dad is at home though, next to my sister's remains. Now her cremator, imho, was a quack. There are large pieces of bone and the remains look like she was cooked on a campfire. Just obsurd!

the "please donate my body to science and have my skeleton put together" alaskan

unless of course it's cheaper to cremate me ;p

[edited 4 typo]


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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Dan the Strider:

Good point! It seems sad there's not a better thing to do with your body after you die. I suppose donating it to medical science is an alternative.

I imagine it'd be possible to design a machine that would create a body into some kind of usuable fertilizer, but it'd probably be more trouble than it was worth.

--Dan


Yes maybe we could remanufacture the protein into food, a cracker perhaps...

Beach...we could call it soylent green...Life!

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
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skrap
Minnow Way Out


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Beach Life, a question please. How were your Grandmother's remains shipped? My stepfather was cremated and is buried in Texas. My Mother lives with us in Colorado. She has a place next to my stepfather. Ive told her when she goes I will have her cremated here and UPS her to my sister in Texas. Then I thought about shiping a "large container full of white powder" and wondered if she would make it. That last part is kind of a joke but still a serious question.
skrap

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the alaskan
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Beach Life:

Yes maybe we could remanufacture the protein into food, a cracker perhaps...

Beach...we could call it soylent green...Life!


mmmmmm, human crackers. Would that be an introduction to cannibalism? Betcha could wash it down with some beer real nicely.

Wouldn't that also be like eating your fingernails? Eyak!

the "oh my goodness, please make me into a cracker and eat me when i am dead" alaskan

(I wonder if that could be put into a will and if anyone would carry THAT out?)


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the alaskan
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by skraplette2:
Beach Life, a question please. How were your Grandmother's remains shipped? My stepfather was cremated and is buried in Texas. My Mother lives with us in Colorado. She has a place next to my stepfather. Ive told her when she goes I will have her cremated here and UPS her to my sister in Texas. Then I thought about shiping a "large container full of white powder" and wondered if she would make it. That last part is kind of a joke but still a serious question.
skrap

My sister was murdered and cremated without our knowledge nor our consent. The Pocatello, Idaho cornorers shipped her to us with UPS along with the bill. How dare them.

Anyhow, the box she came in was a rectangle that measured about 9 x 6 and was about 4 inches deep. It was plastic and sealed on one end. So, shipping shouldn't be a problem unless of course the white powder was inspected. Glad you have a sense of humor. I love morbid humor.

I am sure BeachLife would know best though since he just went through the whole rigamarole. My grandmother just passed away today. My mom wanted to have her cremated but her brothers wouldn't have that so they are paying to have her shipped from Arizona to Illinois. That is going to be expensive!

the alaskan


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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by skraplette2:
Beach Life, a question please. How were your Grandmother's remains shipped? My stepfather was cremated and is buried in Texas. My Mother lives with us in Colorado. She has a place next to my stepfather. Ive told her when she goes I will have her cremated here and UPS her to my sister in Texas. Then I thought about shiping a "large container full of white powder" and wondered if she would make it. That last part is kind of a joke but still a serious question.
skrap

As the Alaskan said, UPS works fine. My Grandmother's ashes were sealed in a thick plastic bag, then sealed in a box by the crematorium. That box was packed into another larger box with sufficient dunning to protect the inner box.

As for the powder, it is really gray and course. It is hard to mistake someone's ashes for anything else. There is also a certificate of cremation which in my case was attached to the box.

It is much cheaper and easier to ship ashes then a casket as the Alaskan mentions. Not as many regulations to deal with either.

Beach...no comments on that place in Georgia please...Life!

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery


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Chava
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Anybody see The Shipping News or read the book?

Don't miss the Final Disposal of Ashes scene.

Chava


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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Haven't seen that, but you reminded me of the movie "Stealing Home" in which this guy is bequeathed the ashes of an old friend who is sure he'll know what to do with them.

Throughtout the movie he has a lot of ideas, but it is not until the end that he figures it all out. I think the last scene of the movie is the disposal.

Beach...liked the movie, but don't remember exactly why...Life!

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery


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noreen
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Dan the Strider:

Good point! It seems sad there's not a better thing to do with your body after you die. I suppose donating it to medical science is an alternative.

I imagine it'd be possible to design a machine that would create a body into some kind of usuable fertilizer, but it'd probably be more trouble than it was worth.

--Dan



http://cbc.ca/cgi-bin/templates/view.cgi?/news/2001/06/01/corpse_recycle010601

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ThespiSis
Xboxing Day


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no amount of burning will completely disintegrate bone into ashes...if there were large pieces of bone in with the ashes, then they simply neglected to grind them up as most places will do when they do a cremation

my stepmother was cremated because she wanted to be buried with my father...we placed her urn in the casket with him...or rather, we had the funeral parlor do it

as for dna...iirc from forensic anthropology, you might be able to get mitochondrial dna (the mitochondria in your cells have their own dna) from bone, but it would not be as good for matching as nuclear dna, as mitochondrial dna only passes on through women (the part of sperm that carries mitochondia is the tail, which falls off at fertilization)

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