Expert fears premium for ‘green cremation’

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An alternative to cremating a deceased person’s body is emerging, but buyers should be wary of premiums. The new technique, which is known as alkaline hydrolysis, uses a heated mixture of water and potassium hydroxide inside of a pressurized chamber. The process uses no flames and generates little air pollution.

An industry watchdog says funeral directors could decide to overcharge to take advantage of the environmental appeal. However, alkaline hydrolysis typically costs the same as cremation does, says Barbara Kemmis, who is the executive director of Cremation Association of North America. Two sources say alkaline-hydrolysis chambers are more expensive to manufacture, although investment costs might decrease as more funeral homes use the technique.