Drinking grandma: the problem of embalming

J Environ Health. 2008 Dec;71(5):24-8.


The modern practice of embalming replaces organic blood with various toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, particularly formaldehyde. Then the embalmed body is placed underground where, despite the casket, the body's fluids will inevitably leak into the groundwater. Alternatively, the body may be burned, releasing chemicals into the air. The initial reasons for the use of embalming and the rationale given for the continuance of the practice fail to justify the potential public health and environmental risks presented by embalming.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens
  • Embalming*
  • Environmental Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Formaldehyde / toxicity*
  • Mortuary Practice


  • Carcinogens
  • Formaldehyde