California Approves Water Cremation

Monday, October 16, 2017

Governor Brown Signs AB 967 by Assemblymember Gloria, Gives Californians Environmentally-Friendly Alternative to Fire Cremation

SACRAMENTO, CA – After three previous attempts in the Legislature, water cremation rose from the dead during the 2017-2018 legislative session and was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. AB 967, authored by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), permits the use of alkaline hydrolysis – also known as “water cremation” – for the disposal of human remains in California.

AB 967 is about giving consumers more choices. The bill offers Californians an eco-friendly alternative to traditional fire cremation,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “California joins 14 other states that allow this technology to be used for the disposition of human remains. I want to thank Governor Brown for signing this legislation and giving Californians more choice.” 

Alkaline hydrolysis uses heated water and earth metal salts to reduce a human body to its essential organic components and bone fragments. Similar to fire cremation, this process creates “ashes” which are able to be inurned and returned to the family.

Because it is a non-combustive process – meaning, mercury is not vaporized – and less carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are released, water cremation is a more environmentally-friendly alternative to fire cremation. A typical fire cremation process consumes 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas and releases approximately three grams of mercury into the air.

Currently, alkaline hydrolysis is permitted for use in limited environments within California. UC Los Angeles operates an alkaline hydrolysis machine for medical programs and research. Water cremation is allowed in 14 states: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming.

AB 967 was sponsored by Qico, Inc. – a San Diego-based business that specializes in water cremation technology. The full text of AB 967 can be found here.