By Phil Olson
Thanks to modern chemistry, new alternatives for the final disposition of the formerly living are emerging. If you haven’t thought about having your body dissolved in a mixture of water and alkali, you soon might. But Brenda Pogge would rather you didn’t. On Jan. 10, Pogge, a Republican delegate representing the 96th District in Virginia, introduced House Bill 379 to the commonwealth’s Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee. The bill would have made it a class one misdemeanor for anyone to dispose of human remains using a relatively new disposition technique called alkaline hydrolysis. The bill did not make it out of committee, but you can rest assured that Virginia’s lawmakers soon will resurrect discussions about alkaline hydrolysis.
Olson is an assistant professor in the Department of Science and Technology
in Society at Virginia Tech.