- District of Columbia
At this time, crematory practices are regulated everywhere in the US Except:
- Written authorization form (45 states)
- Identification prior to cremation (37 states)
- Crematory inspection (39 states)
- Crematory operator training (23 states)
- Written receipts required (29 states)
- Authorized disposition of unclaimed remains (42 states)
Key Provisions Selected as Basic Components that should be the Foundation of any Effective Government Oversight of Cremation (Gilligan, 2013)
Principals of conduct based on values related to good and right behavior that guide personal as well as business decisions and actions.
Also addresses the manner in which human remains and cremated human remains are treated by the network of individuals responsible for an array of caring, compassionate, and proper cremation services to families.
- Environmental protection practices to avoid emission of pollutants to the atmosphere
- use equipment and cremation container materials that minimize pollution, refrain from using certain polluting materials, energy conservation.
- Religious and cultural practices regarding the proper treatment of the dead and cremated remains.
- Do everything possible to assist families in making arrangements that are compatible with a cremation family’s culture and religious traditions- profession based on sacred trust.
Ethical Issues Related to Cremation
- Service to families
- Obligations to the public
- Obligations to the government
Key Principals of the NFDA Code of Professional Conduct
Ethical obligaton to serve each family in a professional and caring manner, being respectful of their wishes and confidences. being honest and fair in all dealings with them, and being considerate of those of lesser means.
Service to Families
- Treat the deceased with dignity and respect at all times
- Treat information regarding the deceased with confidentiality and integrity.
- Offer services to all without regard to religion, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
- Verify that all necessary paperwork is in order and will not perform cremation unless proper authorization is granted by the Authorizing Agent(s) and proper medical authorities
- All all times maintain the standards and obligations of the crematory that I represent
- Properly account for and remit any monies, documents or personal property belonging to others that come into my possession.
Service to Families (CCO Code of Ethics)
Funeral service professionals have an ethical obligation to the public to offer their services and to operate their business in accordancewith the highest prinicpals of honesty, fair dealing, and professionalism.
Obligations to the Public
- No representation, written or oral, that may be false or misleading or that is likely to defraud or deceive the public.
- Maintain the crematory facility in a clean, orderly, safe fashion at all times.
- Accomodate public requests for crematory tours and educational opportunities.
- Follow safety and environmental standards when using crematory equipment and use PPE
- Not cremate more than one deceased person in the same cremation unit nor intentionally commingle CR, unless written authorization is granted by the Authorizing Agent(s).
- Only cremate human remains in a crematory intended for human remains and cremate animal remains only in a crematory intended for animal remains.
- Be a good steward, always conscious of maintaining a positive public image and reputation in the community.
- Abide by provisions of the NFDA CCO Statement of Use regarding the appropriate and responsible use of the COO designation.
- Continue professional education
- Conduct yourself at all times in a manner that deserves public trust.
Obligations to the Public (CCO Code of Ethics)
Maintain strict compliance with the letter and spirit of all governmental laws and regulations that impact the funeral consumer, the funeral profession, and the public health.
- NFDA CCO program objective is to promote and enhance strict ethical obligations and compliance with laws and regulations affecting the funeral consumer, and encourage the highest standards of funeral professional excellence through voluntary certification.
Obligations to the Government
- Continue to hold necessary licenses
- Operate the crematory in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Obligations to the Government (CCO Code of Ethics)
- Return cremated remains with upmost dignity and respect
- Explain identification system (important way to build client confidence).
- Take time to address each client’s questions or fears (best kind of customer service)- will likely share positive experience with others.
- 1/4 of adults rely on other people for news and information about local businesses.
- Have an open door policy- accomodate requests from potential clients (professional and consumer)
- keep up with housekeeping
- do not permit unauthorized people in crematory
- Choosing cremation does not limit service and merchandise options, but the family may not know this. Explain range of alternatives available.
- Families need to understand that cremation is a process that prepares the loved one’s remains for permanent memoralization.
- Cremation families must make a decision regarding the place of final rest for cremated remains of the deceased.
- Same standards of care, compassion, and attention to personal preferences and needs as when dealing with burial families.
- Actively listen to the family to learn about the unique line of the loved one in order to help the family plan an arrangement that is meaningful. fitting, and appropriate.
Service to Families
- Earth burial
- Placement in an indoor or outdoor columbarium
- Scattering (irreversible act)
- Inurnment and kept at home
Disposition Options for Cremation Families
- Oldest is in Australia (25,000 BP)
- Neolithic sites in the Americas (11,500 BP)
- Europe (9,700 BP in Switzerland)
- Middle East
Oldest Evidence of Cremation
Cremation appears to have been a popular practice.
Early Bronze Age in Europe (5,000-3,000 BP)
Urnfield culture practices cremation in East Central Europe and northern Italy from 2,700 BP.
- Spread to Ukraine, Sicily, Scandinavia, and France to Iberia
Late Bronze Age
Cremation became the predominant disposition over approximately this time.
1,500 year span in Europe
- Based on cultural and religious factors.
- Cremation ranged from being reserved for the wealthiest, the poorest, never being used, or as the standard approach to handling the dead.
- Cremation is mentioned in the writings, literature, and scriptures of both eastern and western ancient civilizations as either the preferred choice or as an acceptable, honorable method of disposing the dead.
- Practiced in India and Greece- two civilizatons that embraced both metaphysical and mythical reasons to cremate.
- Cremation dominated the ancient Western world from approximately 3,000 BP (when thought to have been introduced by the Greeks) until the beginning of the Christian era.
Burial vs Cremation in the Ancient World
Notable Exceptions in Ancient World to Cremation being the Standard Practice
Underscores the importance of the ritual cremation pyre to the warrior traidtion in ancient Greece, as the only appropriate conclusion to an epic life.
Hold th properties of cremation to honor the dead in the highest regard.
- became a status symbol
- Speculation by historians that widespread cremation in this empire became a practical threat to wood supplies needed for strategic purposes of the empire.
Focused on the resurrection of the body.
- “unimaginable” to the Greeks
- Followed the Jewish traidition of burial
- Contirbutes to the demise of cremation
Christian Approach to Death
- Nearly 1,500 years
- Only on extraordinary occasions (outbreaks of plagues)
Cremation was not Practiced in the West
Wrote the first modern book in 1658 advocating cremation as an alternative to burial.
English physician Sir Thomas Browne
Promoted cremation in a short-lived attempt to “dechristianize funeral rites.”
French Republic (140 years after Browne’s book)
There was no strong European movement to promote the practice of cremation until the late nineteenth century.
- Idea revived at the 1869 International Medical Congress of Florence, when cremation was promoted “in the name of public health and civilization.”
- 1873- Italian professor exhibited cremated remains at the Vienna International Exposition
Wrote Cremation: The Treatment of the Body after Death
- Highly influential on both sides of the Atlantic
- Promulgated the idea of cremation as “a necessary sanitary precaution against the propagaton of disease.”
- Founded the cremation society of Great Britian
Sir Henry Thompson (1874)
Went on public record to disapprove burial.
- Purpose: substitute some mode which shally rapidly resolve the body into its component elements, by a process which cannot offend the living, and shall render the remains perfectly innocuous. Until some better method is devised, desire to adopt that usually known as cremation.
Cremation Society of Great Britian
Used a cremation apparatus designed by Italian professor Paolo Gorini, who supervised its construction.
- Drew strong opposition by local residents- petitioned the British Home Secretary to close down the operation
- resulted in threat of legal preceedings
Cremation Society’s First Cremation Test (1879)
- Cremation became legal in Great Britian in 1884 provided that it was not a nusiance to others.
- In 1902, Parliment formally passed this act, regulations were posted the following year.
Act for the regulation of burning of human remains, and to enable burial authorities to establish crematoria
- European movement legitimizing cremation first spread to the United States in the mid-1870’s- due to Thompson’s book as well as publications fron nearly every country in Europe.
- Movement led by US Cremationists- Mainly protestant clergy and medical professionals
- Protestant clergy- wanted to simplify extravagant burial practices.
- Medical professionals- protect the public from what contemporary public health advocates as unsanitary cemetery practices and unhealthy conditions related to burial of the dead.
Cremation in the U.S.
Built by Dr. Francis J. LeMoyne in Washington, Pennslyvania
- Second crematory: Lancaster, Pennslyvania (1884)
- New york cremation society organized in 1881
- 25 crematories in the US by 1900
- By 1913 the Cremation Association of American was established
First Crematory in the U.S. (1876)
American cremation proponents shifted their efforts from legitimizing cremation on the basis of arguing for simpler and more sanitary funerary practices.
- to building, from being idealists to becoming managers
- Cremation evolved into a business as American funeral ritualization practices, architecture, and technology- and the culture- all changed.
Bricks and Mortar Phase (1886-1963)
- utilizing fuel that produced smoke and noise
- Preheating requirements up to 24 hours
- Initial blazes when inserting the decedent
- Inability to separate cremated remains from the fuel
- By 1940- most technological problems resolved through use of indirectly fired oil furnaces that produced little smoke, noise or odor. Cremation movement grew during this technological advancement.
Early Cremator Designs Had Many Problems
- Archetect and mortuary expert
- Bodies cremated in a casket
- Case (container and remains) was placed on a cold retort before firing
Frank Gibson’s Innovations (turn of the century)
Originated in 1963 with the Roman Catholic Church ending its ban on cremation and the publication of Jessica Mitford’s: The American Way of Death.
- Mitford advocated cremation as an inexpensive alternative to burial.
- Instigated widespread cirticism of the American Funeral Industry
- Calls for reform resulted in the FTC’s Funeral rule (1984, revised July, 1994)
- Prevailing in India (ancient practice)
- Japan- 99+%
- China and Russia- 50%
- Singapore 80%
- Hong Kong 90%
- UK rate- 74%
- Canada and Australia- 60%
- Netherlands- 58%
- Scandinavian cities- 70%
- Results of decreasing burial space in concentrated urban areas
Cremation in Other Parts of the World
- Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches
- Conservative and Orthodox Judaism
- Mormon Church- discourages but does not forbid it
Religions that do Not allow Cremation
Cremation is traidionally part of the funeral ceremony.
- Important for the funeral director to be educated on different cultural, ethnic, and religious grounds in their communities.
Buddhist and Hindu Religions
- Price considerations
- Environmental concerns
- Weakening religious opposition and restrictions
- Rapidly changing consumer preferences about funeral practices (trend toward simple services)
Causes of Cremation Surge in the US
- Us Adults 40 and over- 54% (when chosing own disposition)
- Cremation rate 2011- 42.2%
- 2014- 46.7%
- 2015- 58.2%
- 2020- 55.8%
- Number of deaths predicted to move from 2.2 million in 2011 to 3.2 million in 2030
- National cemetery rate project to reach 70.6%
- 3.2% will hamper industry revenue to 2019
- 40% of funeral homes own and operate crematories
- Survivor focused rather than tradition and ritual
- rise in the number of people who do not identify with religion (increase from 15% to 20%)
- Changing consumer preferences
Decline of Traiditional Funeral
- 1965- 3.9%
- 1985- 13.9%
- 2005- 32.1%
- 2011- 42.2%
- 2015- 48.2%
- 2020- 55.8%
- 2030- 70.6%
- Nevada- 77.8%
- Washington- 76.8%
- Oregon- 75.2%
- Montana- 74.6%
- Hawaii- 73.3%
- Maine- 71.7%
- New Hampshire- 71.7%
- Colorado- 70.3%
Highest Cremation Rates
- Mississippi- 19.1%
- Alabama- 24.5%
- Kentucky- 25.7%
- Louisiana- 27.3%
- West Virginia- 28.9%
- Tennessee- 29.5%
- Utah- 32.4%
- Arkansas- 34.2%
Lowest Cremation Rates