Modern Burials Leave Behind Polluted Legacy

casket with embalmed remains

Photo by Arturo Yee


By Case Adams, Naturopath

Most of us figure that when our body dies, we will leave it to decompose nicely back into the soil. This, however, is not the reality for most of those whose remains will be buried along with a host of toxins that will haunt their grave long after their funeral.

According to an analysis by the National Geographic Society, a typical coffin burial will leave behind a host of environmental toxins and critical resources, leaving behind a polluted legacy.

The annual toll on the soils of modern cemeteries is to the tune of some 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid. This is equivalent to and Olympic-sized swimming pool of embalming fluid – made of formaldehyde and a number of other solvents. Here is a quick run-down of common embalming fluid ingredients:

chemical dyes

The cost of a typical burial also takes a toll on our precious environmental resources. Every year, caskets require about 30 million board feet of hardwoods – trees that remove carbon dioxide from the air while returning oxygen, and nourishing the soils with rich biomass.

Each year some 90,000 tons of steel are also put into the ground as ornaments and frames for caskets. This is more steel than was required to build the Golden Gate bridge. Every year.

In addition, some 1.6 million tons of concrete are poured into burial sites – mausoleums. This is enough concrete to built more than 15 empire state buildings every year.

The environmental toll of putting our remains into a casket is piling up with each years death toll, and for this reason a number of organizations are now offering environmental-friendly burials.

And certainly one of the more environmental-friendly burials is cremation – a method of burial with thousands of years of tradition.

This is not to mention the cost of a typical modern coffin and funeral – the average cost in the U.S. is now about $6,000, often excluding the cost of the grave site.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn ones health around. As I drove home that night, I realized I needed to get this knowledge out to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.” Case connects with the elements by surfing, hiking and being a beach bum.

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