ATLANTA - A bill that would allow crematories in Georgia to use dissolving chemicals along with the usual furnace burning cleared the Georgia Senate on Monday.
Senate Bill 296 would permit crematories to undertake the process of alkaline hydrolysis, which combines water, alkaline chemicals, pressure and heat to liquify most human remains. The dissolving process breaks down fat and tissues into liquid, leaving behind bone fragments.
Alkaline hydrolysis is used as an alternative to traditional fire-burning furnaces or burials in several states, according to the advocacy group Cremation Association of North America. The group describes it as more environmentally friendly, a “gentler process.”
Sen. Bill Heath, the legislation’s sponsor, said he brought it to clarify that Georgia law already permits alkaline hydrolysis on paper, but the state board that licenses funeral homes still does not permit it.
Heath, R-Bremen, said he drafted the bill after hearing from a crematory owner who bought equipment able to perform alkaline hydrolysis but was told he could not use it.
“It has been an accepted process,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson tried to tack an amendment onto the bill Monday that would give city and county governments the ability to set their own rules on licensing crematories, but it failed along party lines.
The bill passed by a 35-10 vote Monday. It now heads to the state House.