News and Blogs

Alkaline hydrolysis is facing challenges in Orange County

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Alkaline hydrolysis continues to be an issue of contention, currently in California. The safety of the byproduct's disposal down the drain is now being debated in Orange County, threatening a local pet water cremation business. The liquid that remains is sterile and ph neutral. Municipal water treatment officials confirm the effluent is some of the cleanest of all the material that we put down our drains everyday. Flushing organic waste, human or animal is not something new as it happens daily in our homes as well as butcher shops, farms, hospitals, and funeral homes where blood removed from the body during embalming is disposed of along with the more toxic associated embalming fluids.

Alkaline hydrolysis, which has been a common practice in the farming industry for years, is gaining popularity as a method for disposing of human remains. It is now available in 13 states. The Mayo clinic has used the process for bodies donated for research since 2005, but there remains a certain portion of the public that finds the process distasteful. From the Orange County Register:

Dean Fisher pioneered the technology on humans at the Mayo Clinic and now runs the only approved human unit in California. He took issue with the proposed ban. The water is safe, he said, and tests would show that.

“They haven’t done their homework,” said Fisher, who now runs a water cremation unit at UCLA’s Donated Body Program. “I just don’t get it. Most of these individuals are scientists; they have water backgrounds. They would just have to look at the test data from people running it.”

At the end families are given back the processed bone just as they would in flame cremation. The remains look like pure white sand.


***Update 1.29.16***

Alkaline hydrolysis in Orange County prevails!  The sanitation department decided not to let perceived "ickiness" color their judgement. Read more here.


Last Updated ( Friday, 29 January 2016 15:38 )

The "no-fuss" funeral

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-by Leda Nutting

In the weeks following pop music icon David Bowie's death after battling cancer, much has been made by the media of his choice to have no funeral or memorial service. Bowie was reported to have asked his friends and family for a "no-fuss" funeral, and they did just that. He was cremated with no family or friends present.

Many of the calls we receive at this office are from those who have experienced a recent death and who are attempting to scrape together what little money they have and are stunned by the high cost of putting together a "full service" funeral at a funeral home. People often report feeling as though they are failing their loved ones when they are unable to deliver a big funeral for them. I often suspect that many of these people are more worried that they will be perceived as cheap by the living, than of letting down their loved ones, if they don't put themselves into debt trying to pay for a funeral beyond their means. Some unscrupulous funeral directors have ways of encouraging this feeling with terms like "welfare casket" for a simple burial container or "immediate disposal" for direct cremation. 

In spite of the sadness of Bowie's death, it is nice to be reminded that those who most certainly could afford otherwise might choose conservative funeral arrangements, or to eschew the funeral entirely. Direct cremation is not only reserved for the poor. It is a perfectly dignified funeral and an arrangement that my own family has chosen multiple times for personal and practical reasons. Public funerals are not for everyone and grief is not expressed through one's wallet. 

This article on our website has many suggestions for those who can't afford the funeral they imagined, or for those simply looking for an inexpensive or simple arrangement. 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 January 2016 09:44 )

Splitsider: 'Adam Ruins Everything' Takes on the American Funeral Industry

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Sketch comedy's truTV show, 'Adam Ruins Everything' aired a death themed episode last night. This hilarious clip challenges the "traditional" American funeral and reveals how unscrupulous funeral directors skim your pockets along the way. You can watch the clip at Splitsider.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 December 2015 16:09 )

Build FCA a New Home for the Holidays!

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Dear FCA friends, leaders, and supporters,

2015 has turned out to be a year of firsts, and we’re closing it out with another one. You’ve seen the national media response to our first-ever survey of online funeral pricing. Our project—done with the help of nine local FCA affiliates and their volunteers and the Consumer Federation of America—really got the press talking about funerals.

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We need to keep the momentum going, and that’s where you come in. Our website needs a renovation to make it easier, faster, and more intuitive for the tens of thousands of Americans who visit it every year. is already the largest source of online referrals to local FCA volunteer community groups, and for objective advice on every aspect of funeral planning.

The new site will:
• Give consumers an intuitive “track” to the basics about funeral planning without having to dig too deep.

• Give FCA affiliate groups a place to showcase their local community education under our nationally recognized name and online domain.

• Connect with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest—social media is where conversation happens. Funeral planning should be part of it.


Our First Crowdfunding Campaign

Step right up! The greatest funeral information website on earth is about to become a reality with your help! You can spread the word—and the pictures, and the banners—about our IndieGoGo campaign. 

Check it out. . .we’ve got video! (Clicking the image will take you to our page where you can play the video. It's right at the top)


And we’ve got perks. 

• Your donation of $100 or more gets executive director Josh Slocum’s handmade sourdough starter. Phoenicia is hardy, flavorful, and ready to raise your loaf. Starter packets will be mailed to you with instructions for activating and baking. Sourdough starters live forever if you just keep them occasionally fed and refrigerated.

• If you’re an angel who gives $1,000 or more, you’ll get a professionally written obituary by FCA board member and journalist Holly Gilbert. Make sure you’re immortalized with style (have you seen some of the obits around? Yikes.)—give generously today. *No death necessary; obituary is shelf-stable and will be just as fresh when your time comes.



Last Updated ( Tuesday, 08 December 2015 14:42 ) Read more...

Cremation in Israel, despite objections

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A well known LGBT activist in Israel will be cremated, according to her will and wishes, despite her family's objections. Cremation is still very rare in the country; there is only one crematorium in operation in all of Israel where traditional burial is still overwhelmingly practiced.

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