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‘Chemical Cremation’ Bill Moves To House Floor

Joe Wilson

Alkaline hydrolysis, a process that uses chemicals to dissolve human remains in place of traditional burial and cremation methods, is one step closer to becoming legal in Indiana.

A bill that would legalize the process, commonly referred to as “chemical cremation,” cleared the house’s Public Health Committee 11 to 1 on Wednesday. While similar bills have come before the state legislature before, this week’s vote marks the first time one has gone to the full house for consideration.

A similar bill went before the senate on Tuesday but failed to come up for a vote.

Curtis Rostad, the director of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association, says while his association is neutral on the topic, it opposed the senate bill because the language classified alkaline hydrolysis as a type of cremation.

“Trying to make the two the same under the law would only create confusion, misunderstanding and deception,” he says.

In contrast, the house bill is more comprehensive, treating alkaline hydrolysis as process separate from traditional cremation.

Joe Wilson, who owns Bio-Response Solutions, a factory that manufactures machines used for alkaline hydrolysis, says the largest hurdle in legalization is most people’s initial reactions to a new, unusual process.

“It’s difficult to understand if you don’t get educated about it,” Wilson says, noting in the weeks before the vote, many members of the committee came to visit his plant in Danville.

“When it passes 11 to 1, I would be shocked if it doesn’t go through the legislature here in Indiana,” he continues.

The most popular oppositions to alkaline hydrolysis are religious, with detractors arguing the process violates the dignity of the human body.

Eleven states have legalized the process.