|My son needs to know (for extra credit in science class) What is embalming fluid made of? Thank you|
|Modern embalming fluids vary in composition depending on their purpose. Some are designed for gradual penetration, others for difficult cases with edema and still others for jaundice. However, virtually all of them include, in varying percentages: water, humectants, emolients and a preservative, most often formaldehyde. Some new fluids use greater portions of gluteraldehydes and other chemicals. The amount of preservative chemical, like formaldehyde will vary from a low of 16% to 18% to a high of 24% to 30% for arterial fluids. Stronger fluids used in the cavities can go up to 50% formaldehyde by volume.
Embalming fluid is shipped to funeral homes in 16 ounce bottles and not in large drums or containers. A skilled embalmer carefully analyzes the amount needed and uses only that amount, based on the deceased person's weight, length of time since death and some other factors.
There is an urban myth that surfaces periodically which claims that embalming fluid can be used to "lace" or strengthen illegal drugs. I am in no way suggesting that your son would be interested in the chemicals for that reason, but he could do a real service to include how dangerous these chemicals are for anything other than their intended purpose. Thanks for visiting! Hope this helps.
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