Quote from Tiki_Torch
I was very surprised to hear this as was my buddy. I thought there were rules about burial vaults for coffins to fit into. I know that in low lying areas where major floods have occurred that old coffins not in vaults have come to the surface and floated away. I even thought about well water and the water table with contamination of certain body fluids.
The laws vary from state to state, and community to community.
However, in most places embalming is not required, a vault is not required and use of a funeral home is not required. And as use these things are inappropriate to several major religions, there would be some fur flying if they were required by law.
Judaic law/tradition prohibits embalming, and unless required by law for court case prohibits autopsy. If autopsy is required, a rabbi oversees the procedure and ensures that at the completion, all body parts and blood are returned so that all parts are buried and as little desecration of the body is done as is necessary. The body is buried before the sun sets on it a second time, preferably in a plain white shroud, no jewelry - no open casket viewing, no vault and sometimes no casket (if required, all parts must be biodegradable, contain metal and have no fancy adornment). There is no headstone for the first year. Most rituals are performed by the synagogue funeral group, not a secular funeral business.
Many of these laws are also true of Moslems.
A few years go, near Atlanta, a group of locals were protesting the possible placement of an Islamic burial ground near them...a major point of contention was the lack of vaults/coffins and worry about groudwater contamination. The findings though, pointed out that the contamination from embalmed bodies (with Formaldehyde, embalming chemicals, varnishes from fancy coffins, etc.) was much greater than the traditional burying of a non- embalmed body buried in a plain white cloth. The pathogens from a dead body are more compatible with the soil that all the chemicals. Will a dead body's pathogens (which are normal to human systems) harm you more than toxic poisons and chemicals used in embalming?
As far as bodies washing up, with an "all natural" burial, the body will biodegrade rapidly and there will be little to wash up except a few bones. However, mother nature can wreak havoc with coffins/vaults and have some partially decomposed chemical laden rotting body arise after a flood, earthquake or hurricane.
A recent expose' on funeral practices demonstrate that even embalmed bodies frequently deteriorate to chemical slime in coffins/vaults and seep out into the soil within a short period of time. So why go to the expense?
And many funeral groups have shoddy practices. Just use the phrase "Tristate" in North GA, Southern Tennessee or western North Carolina.