Frequently Asked Questions
How does alkaline hydrolysis work?
Alkaline hydrolysis is essentially an accelerated version of what takes place in natural decomposition. A combination of gentle water flow, temperature, and alkalinity is used to accelerate the natural course of tissue hydrolysis. At the end of the process the body has been returned to its natural form, dissolved in the water. Remember - our bodies are 65% water to begin with! Similar to cremation, the only solid remains are the mineral ash of the bones.
Is the final product sterile, and why?
Yes. The system sterilizes via three mechanisms. The first is heat, for an extended period of time. The secondary and tertiary mechanisms for pathogen and chemical destruction are by way of an alkaline environment, and liberated amines. Pathogens and chemicals are either heat, alkaline, or amine-labile, or a combination of the three. It is important to keep in mind that alkaline hydrolysis is the favored technology for pathogen and chemical destruction in high-risk biocontainment applications.
Are the bone remains safe to handle?
Yes. The bone remains (calcium phosphate) are 100% safe, pathogen and disease free. The Bio-Response system rinses and cools the bones as part of the automated process. They are safe to handle with bare hands immediately after the process. The bones do not require a cooling time prior to handling, but since this is a water process they will require a drying time before they can be processed for return to the family.
Is there an ash to return to the family as there is with cremation?
Yes. "Ash" is returned to the family in the same manner it is with cremation, but it is in the form of pure calcium phosphate. The ash is lighter in color because it is clean and without carbon discoloration.
Can the bone remains be processed in a standard cremains processor?
Yes. Standard funeral industry cremulators are used for processing the bone remains into a returnable ash.
Is the liquid byproduct corrosive or harmful to pipes?
No. The system automatically cools the effluent well below required discharge regulations. The effluent actually has a preservative and beneficial effect on iron and steel pipes, and is not harmful to plastic pipes. A standard feature on the Bio-Response system is an automated pH neutralization feature. The effluent is an excellent micronutrient package that can benefit wastewater treatment plants.
What devices must be removed from the body?
Medical devices and implants will not create any adverse effects in this system. Items such as titanium implants and pacemakers can be recovered for recycling at the conclusion of the process.