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Old 05-06-2006, 01:58 PM
solkoe is offline
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Do bodies today need less embalming fluid.


There is a myth out there (at least I think its bogus) that people who die in modern times, particularly elderly people, need less embalming fluid because the toxins accumulated in their bodies from living in an industrial society naturally inhibit decay.
From previous SD posts, I have read that embalmers in the past used tons more toxic chemicals than they do nowadays. Besides, what self respecting bacteria is going to hold its nose to a few toxins. Meat is meat and bodies should decay just as fast now as in the past.
Does anyone have any knowledge of this?
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:04 PM
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I heard the same thing, but I heard it was because of all the preservatives in our food, and bodies in undeveloped countries, where there is less processed food, decay faster than those of us in North America. But I have seen zero scientific data to back this up, just what everyone knows and "they" say.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:16 PM
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Do bodies today need less embalming fluid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by solkoe
There is a myth out there (at least I think its bogus) that people who die in modern times, particularly elderly people, need less embalming fluid because the toxins accumulated in their bodies from living in an industrial society naturally inhibit decay.
People, on average are more overweight than in the past and would require more, not less, embalming fluid.
Quote:
The answer to the OP? Is NO, More not less!
From previous SD posts, I have read that embalmers in the past used tons more toxic chemicals than they do nowadays. Besides, what self respecting bacteria is going to hold its nose to a few toxins. Meat is meat and bodies should decay just as fast now as in the past. Does anyone have any knowledge of this?
Rate of decay, (earth to earth,dust to dust...) depends on moisture, chemicals, and bacteria present as well as temperature.
Embalming Fluid
An alternative to embalming is to place the corpse in a tank of caustic soda under high pressure. End products are a brown sterile liquid and some friable solids. Somewhat akin to cremation without the furnace.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:21 PM
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I am pretty sure I read that embalming fluid isn't used to mummify someone. It is just used to keep the body fresh long enough for a a funeral and burial. A little while after that, decomposition will set in. One reason they may need more in undeveloped countries is that they may not have proper air conditioning and refrigeration equipment to keep the body cool before the funeral.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
I am pretty sure I read that embalming fluid isn't used to mummify someone. It is just used to keep the body fresh long enough for a a funeral and burial. A little while after that, decomposition will set in. One reason they may need more in undeveloped countries is that they may not have proper air conditioning and refrigeration equipment to keep the body cool before the funeral.

Correct-the body will still decay-it won't turn into a mummy. It just makes the corpse presentable and well, from getting ripe for the funeral.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:46 PM
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Do bodies today need less embalming fluid.

I find I certainly need less.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:29 PM
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Embalming fluid simply replaces the person's blood in their circulatory system. The average man has about 6-7 liters of circulating blood whether he weighs 160# or 500#
Of course, people, on average, are a bit taller than in past centuries, but the difference in blood volume in a man 5'8" and one 6'2" isn't dramatic.
I'd say no change.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:31 PM
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To clarify, fat has no major blood vessels and actually very little circulation.
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Old 05-06-2006, 06:14 PM
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because of refrigeration?
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Old 05-06-2006, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
I am pretty sure I read that embalming fluid isn't used to mummify someone. It is just used to keep the body fresh long enough for a a funeral and burial. A little while after that, decomposition will set in. One reason they may need more in undeveloped countries is that they may not have proper air conditioning and refrigeration equipment to keep the body cool before the funeral.
Second that. And various funeral homes use more or less of the stuff. But even if the face stays pink, the abdomen still turns green.

And if you dig'em up five years later, trust me they've decomposed.

People are nuts with this "toxins" stuff. If we had so many toxins in us that we wouldn't decompose as fast, we would be having a very hard time reproducing (see: eagles and DDT). Reproduction is more sensitive to actual toxins than any function except brain function. I don't see us getting stupider over the last century. Maybe smarter; haven't the IQ scores been going slowly but continuously up?

(All the effect of the Straight Dope, natch.)

I notice that "toxins" are always vaguely defined by the people who believe in them. Any "toxin" I can check for in a lab hasn't gone up. How do I know? Each "toxin" that can be defined (say arsenic) has a reference range. The reference ranges haven't changed in a hundred years. Arsenic hasn't changed in more than a hundred...

Figures, people are people and their bodies aren't significantly different in a hundred years. Pardon me for an unfounded opinion without a cite to it but I think this "toxins" stuff is bullshit. Unless you got a real toxin with a name like DDT, which is asseyable, and has a reference range, stop believing in it.

But that would throw the coffee colonics industry into confusion, wouldn't it.
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Old 05-06-2006, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Do bodies today need less embalming fluid?

I read this as "Do babies today need less enbalming fluid?" Had to see what that was about.
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Old 05-07-2006, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriela
I notice that "toxins" are always vaguely defined by the people who believe in them. Any "toxin" I can check for in a lab hasn't gone up. How do I know? Each "toxin" that can be defined (say arsenic) has a reference range. The reference ranges haven't changed in a hundred years. Arsenic hasn't changed in more than a hundred...

Figures, people are people and their bodies aren't significantly different in a hundred years. Pardon me for an unfounded opinion without a cite to it but I think this "toxins" stuff is bullshit. Unless you got a real toxin with a name like DDT, which is asseyable, and has a reference range, stop believing in it.

But that would throw the coffee colonics industry into confusion, wouldn't it.
Your mind is just closed because of all the science you study, man. Our bodies are toxic because we live in a toxic environment. That's why you need to go on a cleansing fast. After I went for a month on nothing but lemonade made with molasses and cayenne pepper, I could feel how much purer my body was, because all the toxins had left. I know because of how I felt, man. It was like I was floating, like I was one with the universe!
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Old 05-07-2006, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriela
People are nuts with this "toxins" stuff. If we had so many toxins in us that we wouldn't decompose as fast, we would be having a very hard time reproducing (see: eagles and DDT).
As far as I know, eagles decompose just fine.
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Old 05-07-2006, 09:03 AM
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I thought one of the reason was the fear of the fluid getting into the water table, so usage is scalled back to the min amount.
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