Embalming involves draining a body of fluids and replacing them with a mix of chemicals – such as formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol and other solvents – to temporarily preserve the body for viewing.
Routine embalming is not legally required in any state. However, some states require embalming or refrigeration if the body is not buried or cremated within a number of hours of death (24 to 48 hours); some states don’t require it at all. In most cases, refrigeration is an acceptable alternative. Bodies can be preserved for around three days by refrigeration, dry ice or other cooling techniques. Embalming serves no useful purpose in preventing the transmission of communicable disease. Embalming fees range from $225 to $1,212.
The National Funeral Director’s Association’s 2006 survey found that the average funeral costs for embalming fees was $550.
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