Modern Burials Leave Behind Toxic Legacy

(Last Updated On: May 15, 2018)
casket with embalmed remains

Caskets contain environmental toxins

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 toxic legacy. Critical resources include felling trees for caskets and using steel resources. Then there is the estimated 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid used each year to help preserve the body.

Environmental toxins from modern burial

Consider the annual toll on the soils of modern cemeteries 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:

  • formaldehyde
  • glutaraldehyde
  • phenols
  • chemical dyes
  • humectants
  • antiedemics
  • disinfectants
  • petrochemicals

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.

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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.

Environmental alternatives

The environmental toll of putting our remains into a casket is piling up with each year’s 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.

There are many other ways to bury a dead body according to other traditions.

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. Today grave site plots are costing tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in some graveyards. Why so expensive? Because the land is another resource that is being poisoned by the toxins poured into modern burials.

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Case Adams, PhD

Case Adams has a Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, is a California Naturopath and is Board Certified as an Alternative Medicine Practitioner, with clinical experience and diplomas in Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 27 books and numerous articles on print and online magazines. Contact:

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