A Proposal to Research the Liquid Remains After Resomation Essay
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Resomation is an alternative to cremation that helps the funeral industry and cuts down mercury emissions. The new technique of disposing a corpse is still not welcomed into potential clients mind frame do to the lack of information on the left over liquid once resomation is completed. I propose more research to be done on the liquid left behind and that the data collected to be shared with the general public. The research will be conducted within two years and six months with the result being a press release of our findings.
I am asking for 1,388,800 dollars to fund this research and two years and six months to complete the project. With our findings clientele will be more aware of resomation and the components of the liquid that remains after completion.
Cremation accounts for 34.34 percent of all corpse disposal in the United States in 2006 and is expected to rise to 58.85 percent by 2025 (CANA, 2008). Unfortunately, in the process of cremation, there are considerable amounts of mercury emissions into the atmosphere.
Approximately 320 pounds of mercury is released by U.S. crematoriums each year (Reindl, 2008). Because of the high levels of mercury dispersed by U.S. crematoriums it is necessary for more research to be done on resomation as an alternative to cremation.
This document is proposing more research to be done on resomation’s environmental aspects after the resomation process. This proposal will include the following information. The background on cremation, mercury and resomation will be covered, followed by my qualifications and project description.
Since the 1870’s cremation has been a means of disposing a human body in the United States. However, cremation only accounted for 5 percent of all dispositions until 1972 when the market started to gain popularity (Davis and Mates, Page 102). As stated in the introduction, in 2006 cremation accounted for 34.34 percent of all dispositions and is expected to increase to 58.85 percent by 2025 (CANA, 2008).
With the interest in cremation growing, so is the concern of mercury emissions due to the dental fillings of the deceased during cremation. The dental work has been accounting for approximately 320 pounds of mercury into the atmosphere. The amount of mercury emitted is estimated to rise even higher as more families are choosing cremation (Reindle, 2008). There are many questions regarding how to handle the mercury situation respectfully, safely and environmentally.
Resomation is a new technique being used in 6 states in the U.S.(ABC News, 2011). The new process is beneficial to the funeral industry because of its fuel efficiency (Resomation LTD). This new technique can help the funeral industry make more profit along with reducing mercury emissions, that is if potential consumers choose resomation.
Resomation still sets potential consumers ill at ease. The potential clientele are still hesitant to use the new method of disposition because of the liquids leftover after the process is finished (NYTimes). Some fear that the liquids are harmful for the environment because there have been few studies on the topic.
The problem is potential clientele are reluctant to use resomation for fear that the liquid could be detrimental to the environment and to themselves (TIME). Research needs to be done so that there is more information for the general public about resomation. With this information available potential consumers will choose resomation over cremation.
I am a junior in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon state University, majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences with a minor in Biology. I have taken several classes related to chemical compounds, environmental studies and the human body. These courses will aid me in gathering research along with other scientists on my team. Leadership and organization are traits I posses and have shown in my previous work experiences.
In my experience as a funeral directors assistant I was able to converse with families about the reasons they decided to not choose resomation. From my conversations with them I found that the overall concern was due to the liquefying process. Because of this experience in my life I feel like I can understand the concern of the general public.
The purpose of this proposal is to conduct research revolving around the remaining liquid after the resomation process is completed. The results found in the research will give us information on whether the remaining liquid is environmentally safe or unsafe.
In our research I will achieve the following goals:
* Determine the exact chemical makeup of the remaining liquid left after resomation has taken place.
* Determine if the liquid is environmentally safe.
* Complete a press release on the findings.
My plan for achieving the goals discussed in the previous section is by testing the liquid of donated human corpses after resomation has taken place. We plan on using 150 donated corpses to conduct the research study. Once the bodies have been resomated we will collect five samples of the liquid remains to be tested later on in the study.
Testing the liquid will be done by using mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance. Mass spectrometry is a technique used for separating and identifying molecules based on mass. This technique will help determine the molecules in the liquid and will be able to identify if any of the deceased DNA is present (Genetics, 2003).
Nuclear magnetic resonance is used to determine the structure of new natural and synthetic compounds, the purity of send compounds and its chemical reaction with the other compounds in the solution (Medical Discoveries, 1997). These two tools are able to determine chemical structures so that an accurate description of the liquids makeup can be found. With these instruments at hand we can determine the chemical compounds of the liquid down to its basic chemical elements.
Once we have the chemical make-up of the liquid, we will begin to start looking at their reactions to the environment and if it is harmful. When it is determined that the material contained in the liquid is harmful or not harmful, we will begin work on a journal article that states our findings. After the journal article is finished we will create a press release so that our findings can be made known to the media.
To respect the families of those who donated their bodies, we wish to return the ashes to them. This will not be a great cost to the project for it is just sending the remains to their family’s homes.
Tracking the experiments progress will be done by having the scientists and graduate students participating in the study keep journals of their progress each day. This way of tracking will help determine if we are moving at a slower or faster pace than what we are scheduled.
Check points throughout the study will also be a way to evaluate our progress. An example of a check point would be to have all the samples of the remaining liquid collected by October of 2012. These check points will help the study stay on track and also give us small goals to achieve throughout the process.
Determining if the project is successful or unsuccessful relies on if we can determine the chemicals present in the liquid. The success is not necessarily determined by if the liquids are environmentally safe. Whether our findings say it safe or unsafe we will be learning more about resomation which is a success because little is known about the process.
The set schedule for the entire project is two years and six months, starting January of 2012. I will need seven months to find a location for the project to take place and for the equipment to be installed. Also within those seven months I intend to employ six graduate students and three scientists to work alongside me. After the completion of the seven months we will begin on the process of disposing of the donated bodies and taking samples of the remaining liquid. The course of disposing of the 150 human bodies will be given three months for completion, October of 2012.
After all the samples are collected we will begin on using mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance to determine the chemical compounds of the liquid. This part of the study must be completed by March of 2013. Once the data is collect from the samples we will need two months to determine if the compounds are environmentally friendly, May 2013.
By the June of 2013 we will begin work on a journal article and have it completed by July of 2014. After the article is finished we will have a press release on our findings. The press release should be completed by August of 2014 and sent into the public.
The budget for this project is broken down as follows.
* 400,000 dollars for a resomation chamber (Resomation Ltd.)
* 68,800 dollars for a mass spectrometer (Labx)
* 20,000 dollars for a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (Labx)
* 800,000 dollars for employment of workers
* 150,000 dollars for facility coverage for two years and six months
* 100,000 for lab equipment
I need 1,388,800 dollars to complete this project. I will need 538,800 dollars immediately to begin purchasing the equipment and securing a location. The rest of the 850,000 can be given in increments throughout the course of the project.
More research needs to be done on resomation so that more information is available to potential clientele. With this research I plan to determine the exact chemical makeup of the remaining liquid left after resomation has taken place and its environmental risks. After the project is complete, a press release will be created to inform the general public of our findings.
With this association’s involvement in our research we can increase the use of resomation by the potential clientele. Resomation will financially benefit the funeral industry overtime more so than cremation (Rindle, 2008). The process of resomation is more cost effective for the funeral industry than cremation because it uses fewer resources, such as fuel.
Not only does resomation help this association, but it also helps cut down on mercury emissions caused by cremation. With your financing of my project, potential clientele will begin to choose resomation over cremation. This new process will be benefitting both the National Funeral Directors Association and the environment.
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