St. Petersburg, Florida -- It turns out you can reduce your carbon footprint in life and in death.
A new, greener form of cremation is now being offered at Anderson-McQueen funeral home in St. Petersburg.
It's called Bio-Cremation.
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Simply put, the remains are placed inside the Bio-Cremation machine which submerges the body in a mix of water and potassium hydroxide. The pressure is turned up and so is the temperature. Three hours later, bones remain. The liquid contains no human DNA and is then released into the city's sewer system, according to the funeral home.
It basically speeds up the decomposition process that happens in nature by breaking down the body into the basic amino acids.
Click: St. Petersburg's Anderson McQueen funeral home will be the first to cremate human remains with chemicals and then flush into city's sewer system
The technique has raised questions with some USF chemists who told 10 News reporter Chase Cain earlier this year, they can't say what the impact will be on the environment or our drinking water. Their concern is the pH level. In order to make a formal opinion on the process, they told Cain they have to see more research.
John McQueen with the funeral home says he spent two years getting permits to ensure there is no problem with the process.
"I believe it's completely safe for the community and I believe it's safe for the environment," he said.
There is definitely a gross out factor, but McQueen says what they're putting into the sewer system is not liquified human remains, but the basic amino acids.
He says you're not going to one day be drinking grandma.
He added, "I don't view it as flushing dad down the toilet and I'm sure there may be those out there that have that feeling. Really what they do is accelerate the decomposition process."
McQueen says twenty families have already been through the process and more are scheduled for Bio-Cremation. The costs are the same as flame cremation, at about $2,900. The funeral home refers to the process as flameless cremation.