The Modern Embalmer
"Embalming at the Speed of Enlightenment."
   
 

Innovative, Informative, Controversial, Scientific, Incisive,
Brutally Honest, and Open to Discussion.

Articles

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SPINNING MYTHS AND PROPAGATING LIES: APOLOGIZING FOR
FORMALDEHYDE AND PLAYING THE PRETEND GAME IN EMBALMING.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist/Director of Research The Champion Company

In my current article, I list, expose and debunk the most popular myths and lies that are making the rounds about formaldehyde and the fact that it is a dangerous, toxic and carcinogenic chemical in embalming. The myths are many and I will address each and every one of them, in depth. Most of this is perpetrated by embalming fluid makers that have everything to lose if formaldehyde falls into disfavor and eventually becomes unnecessary and obsolete in embalming, because they have nothing else to sell to the embalming industry, except maybe pet urns and miscellaneous household hygienic paper products (i.e.., toilet paper). How sad.

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IODINE SANITIZING WATER WASH: A FAILED STRATEGY FOR
FORMALDEHYDE REPLACEMENT IN TRADITIONAL EMBALMING.
by: James H. Bedino, Chemist/Director of Research The Champion Company

Iodine sanitizing washes are the most recent attempts as a substitute for traditional formaldehyde arterial injection and cavity treatment. They definitely achieve the intended goal of sanitation action, but they will be profoundly unadopted and rejected as a replacement for traditional, rockhard, dehydration style formaldehyde embalming. The results are nowhere close to what a traditionalist embalmer expects and demands in embalming results. What is iodine anyway, and how would it work and perform in embalming? What is the implications of the eventual banning of formaldehyde embalming in Europe? Will this ever be a natural/ green alternative? What formaldehyde replacement strategies do and will work? These and other questions will be answered in our current article. As always, brutal honesty and unapologetic commentary abounds. Be certain to read the end of this article, wherein I address and attest to these very things.

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FEAR AND LOATHING IN THE
FUNERAL INDUSTRY:
TOXIC THOUGHTS VERSUS TOXIC DEEDS.
by: James H. Bedino, Chemist/Director of Research The Champion Company

My current article is a response to my perceived “throwing of a gauntlet” by Steven Palmer that was published in the November 2008 edition of Funeral Home and Cemetery News (formerly YB News). In fairness and openess, this author’s commentary is herewith republished, with permission of Nomis Publications, unchanged, unaltered, in its entirety and in its original presentational format. To understand the discussion and points it is necessary to first read my Justifying Embalming, and Apologizing for Formaldehyde article that is accessible on this website, TheModernEmbalmer.com. Following now is Steven Palmer’s Toxic Thoughts article. Immediately after which I delineate my response, which let us hope, will not be too toxic.

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CALL OF THE WILD:
TAXIDERMY TANNIC ACID/TANNINS IN EMBALMING.
A DEAD-END ROAD TO FORMALDEHYDE-FREE CHEMICALS.
by: James H. Bedino, Chemist/Director of Research The Champion Company

Tannic acid or tannins are the latest attempt to replace formaldehyde in cavity fluids in the embalming industry. The goal is admirable but, there’s only one problem, they just don’t work. Tannins have some serious problems and just won’t translate to embalming of human remains. What are tannins, why would they be used and what exactly are the problems with this failed strategy of formaldehyde-replacement embalming? These questions and other topics will be discussed and answered in our current article. As always, brutal honesty abounds with no apologies for speaking the truth. With that in mind, I invite you to read on. One more thing, be certain to check out the postscriptum where I discuss this whole notion of humor, truth, and decorum.

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JUSTIFYING EMBALMING AND APOLOGIZING FOR FORMALDEHYDE:
THE NEVER-ENDING DISINFECTION, PRESERVATION, RESTORATlON
DEBATE IN THE FUNERAL INDUSTRY.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist/Director of Research The Champion Company

In our current article, we investigate the myth and reality of the disinfection, preservation, restoration debate in the embalming trade. How the three tenets of embalming are defined and the permutations thereof with the end result being a cloaked formaldehyde apology and veiled justifications for embalming. The archaic research regarding this argument and the modem absolutist/absurdist spin on the topic is discussed. The CDC’s and other medical researchers position on the topic and the funeral industry’s cloaked denial of the obvious is detailed. In summary, a new definition, a new prioritized reasoning and a new path for modern embalming is presented. As always, brutal honesty, my personal opinions and cutting humor abounds. With that thought in mind, I invite you to read on.

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MAD COWS, FORMALDEHYDE APOLOGY, EMBALMING AND
ALL THAT JAZZ. A CJD UPDATE FOR EMBALMERS.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist, Dir. Research, The Champion Company

In our current article, we investigate the misunderstood, convoluted, confused and, in some cases, flat out wrong morass of advice and recommendations regarding the embalming of CJD cases. Most of this information being passed around is by so-called “experts” in embalming or whatever, with the result being unresearched, unfounded, incorrect and out-of-context absurdist conclusions regarding precautions to take when embalming these types of cases and high risk embalming situations, in general. So just what recommendations are there that are based on brutal scientific facts and related medical research? What should an embalmer do in these situations? These questions and more will be investigated and answered in this article. As always, a warning — brutal honesty, the facts and my personal opinions follow. You will not find me standing waistdeep in the formaldehyde apology swamp pretending everything is “just alright” in the funeral industry. With that said, I invite you to read on.

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A FAILURE TO EVOLVE: FORMALDEHYDE-DRIVEN ARCHAISM AND
OBSOLESCENCE IN EMBALMING.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist, Dir. Research, The Champion Company

In our current article, we examine formaldehyde-driven archaism and the resultant generalized obsolescence in word, product and deed that is spawned by the century-old adoption of formaldehyde as the end-all-and-be-all of embalming. The result being a patchwork quilt of fix-it products, partial solutions and attempted cover-up chemicals of the modern (I use the term loosely) embalming industry. This road leads to nowhere and generally precludes, eliminates or restricts true formulation advancement and virtually any attempt by the forward thinkers in the industry to adapt and evolve into modem sophisticated alternative technologies of preservation and embalming. As always, brutal honesty and sarcastic humor abounds, I therefore warn you and invite you to read on.

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BLEACH, FORMALDEHYDE AND EMBALMERS.
THE FUNERAL INDUSTRY’S TOXIC LOVE TRIANGLE.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist, Dir. Research, The Champion Company

In our current article we discuss and dissect the ridiculous toxic love triangle of embalmers and their formaldehyde and bleach. We review how the love affair started in the embalming industry and the unfortunate hazardous exposure consequences of mixing and excessive use of these toxic chemicals in embalming rooms. What really is bleach and why it is totally unsuitable for embalming use, the toxic gases bleach releases when used with formaldehyde and the dangers they pose, the care-less attitude of the funeral industry and the various associations, the exposure/disposal hazards of bleach and formaldehyde, limitations and outright failures of bleach in various disinfection scenarios (including HIV, TB, Poliovirus and CJD), and safer and saner, effective alternatives to bleach in all embalming situations. These topics and more will be covered indepth. Be aware, brutal honesty, my opinions and some sarcastic humor follows.

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FORMALDEHYDE EXPOSURES IN EMBALMING:
FOR WHOM THE TOXIC BELL TOLLS.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist, Dir. Research, The Champion Company

The toxic bell tolls for thee, formaldehyde. In this article we examine the ever-increasing mountain of bad news concerning formaldehyde and its serious exposure dangers as it relates to embalmers and embalming. From the elevation to an IARC Group 1 carcinogen, to the probable ban in all of the EU, to the neverending chain of research articles documenting more and more evidence of serious health effects from exposures, to the “pretend there is no problem” mentality of the funeral industry. All this and more is exhaustively covered in our current article. Be warned — brutal honesty, my unabashed opinions and some sardonic humor is contained within this article. The brutal facts are the facts, and my opinions, are, well, my opinions, but I have a bad feeling that I am right. With these considerations taken, I invite you to read on.

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GASOLINE IN EMBALMING: A RIDICULOUS AND UNNECESSARY
EXPOSURE /DISPOSAL HAZARD FOR EMBALMERS.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist, Dir. Research, The Champion Company

Gasoline is now being formulated into drywash type embalming chemicals. Gasoline is one serious toxic exposure hazard and safety issue that is totally ridiculous and absolutely unnecessary in any embalming situations. The progression has been from dangerous chlorinated drycleaning solvents to hexane solvents and now devolves to just plain old gasoline. All of these chemicals are toxic, unnecessary and an environmental and disposal nightmare. How did the embalming industry get to this situation and why? These and more questions will be investigated and answered in our current article.

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SPASTIC OVER ELASTIC: THE EMBALMING INDUSTRY’S
NEVER-ENDING LOVE AFFAIR WITH LATEX.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist, Dir. Research, The Champion Company

In this issue we reexamine the embalming industry’s obsession with cheap latex gloves and the negative ramifications from their continual use. The lack of protection and the possibility of latex sensitization is literally off the scale. What propels this ridiculous and ill-fated “love affair”? Why does the embalming industry ignore the warning signs and pretend everything is “just all right”? These and other questions will be answered in our current article.

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ASIAN BIRD FLU: AN UPDATE FOR EMBALMERS.

by: James H. Bedino, Chemist, Dir. Research, The Champion Company

Speculation regarding Bird Flu and its worldwide repercussions is running rampant in the world press. Numerous predictions of a pandemic with worldwide devastation are common. What actually are the facts and interrelationships of Bird Flu to human influenza viruses and the consequences of interaction and infection among the global human population? What does the embalming industry and individual embalmers need to know and do in the event that the worst-case predictions come true? These topics will be discussed and analyzed in depth in our current article.

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