Can something be improved within the burial sector? Everyone at Promessa are humble to contribute with our new solution, so that next time a pandemic happens, we as a society are better prepared.
These days a powerful and strong reminder is sent to all of us. A reminder about how dangerous a microscopic organism can be for us human beings. If you haven’t watched it yet, there is an interesting video of Bill Gates (please find the link below) in which he explains why the greatest risk to our society is not missiles nor nuclear bombs, but a virus. That video was published in 2015 and now, sadly enough, we can fully understand his speech, since we are facing the corona-virus pandemic.
Technically speaking the virus is SARS-CoV-2 and the disease is called COVID-19. It has been the World Health Organization (WHO) official name to this novel corona-virus, COVID-19. The name comes from Coronavirus diseases discovered in 2019.
Because of COVID-19 people are pondering about questions such as:
• What happens with this virus in a deceased body?
• Can it infect other people?
• Is it still alive or dead, since the body is no longer alive?
• Are there some risks that we are not aware of?
• Can a deceased body increase risk for spreading diseases?
The WHO has previously stated that human remains only pose a substantial risk in a few special cases, such as deaths from Ebola, Cholera or Hemorrhagic fevers. That happens because bacteria can grow in a deceased body, most likely in the stomach and intestines, and therefore some pathogenic can infect from a deceased. Since SARS-CoV-2 is new it is important to take appropriate precautions because we are missing a lot of information and we do not know yet if there is a risk or not from a deceased body with corona-virus.
In general, the WHO mentioned that appropriate precautions should be taken. Some of these precautions are: graveyards should be at least 30m from groundwater sources used for drinking water, grave floors must be at least 1.5 m above the water table (with a 0.7 m unsaturated zone), surface water from graveyards must not enter inhabited areas, etc. In traditional burial (six feet under) bacteria travel with the liquids leaking from the corpses, caused by putrefaction, and contaminates the ground water and possibly sources of drinking water.
The promession method offers a big advantage since it guarantees the destruction of the bacteria and virus in and on a deceased body and at the same time eliminates any potential pollution to ground water or soil. Clearly prevention measures are key factors these days.
How is it possible the promession® method destroys harmful SARS-CoV-2 and harmful bacteria when talking about burials?
The process is quite simple. The first step of the promession® method is to freeze the corpse to – 18 Cº. The bacteria and virus will “hibernate”, so there is no bacteria or virus proliferation in this phase. Once the deceased body goes through the promession® process (in which no workers need to touch the deceased body at any moment since it is an automated process); the result is a dry powder, in which virus is also hibernating. These remains (called promains) are buried and there is no such competitive place as the top soil to disarm pathogenic bacteria. Virus can survive several days, even outside the corpse, but if promains are exposed to ultraviolet light as an extra precaution, bacteria and viruses will be terminated.
Since promators can be customized until a certain point, the ultraviolet light (UV) or radiation is an optional feature that can be added. This module will guarantee that virus and bacteria of any type are killed by UV which is effective against the highest number of microorganisms. The UV dose is the amount of germicidal (kills bacteria) UV energy absorbed by a microbial population over a period of time. For example, the US Environmental Protection Agency has accepted UV disinfection as a method for drinking water plants to obtain cryptosporidium, giardia or virus inactivation credits. Thus, there will not be any collateral risk or need for any more measures to be put in place or worries about graveyards and so on.
Why does the burning of the promains from the promator® offer additional security?
In addition to burying the promains, it is also possible to burn the promains with the help of a Compact Cremator. The dry promains have less than 5% water content which is enough to stop biological activity until burning, where 100% percent of viruses and harmful bacteria is killed. In the compact cremators the promains are subjected to a temperature of 1200ºC. Even prions such as in Creutzfeldt Jacobs disease popularly known as “mad cow disease” will be disarmed at that high temperature.
The traditional cremation process reaches a temperature of between 800-1000ºC (may vary depending on the country). The deceased body which containes 70% water has to start a boiling process where small water drops can pass through the chimney along with the smoke generated by the combustion. These drops can remain in the air for long periods of time and be transmitted over distances greater than one meter. In other words, using the Compact Cremator eliminates the collateral risk that there may be airborne transmission of viruses. It should be noted that the WHO has declared, that in the case of COVID-19, there is no evidence to date that there is air transmission but only by transmission of drops when a person sneezes, coughs, etc.
The Compact Cremator will burn the dry, metal-free promains from the promator in a quick and environmentally efficient process. Then ashes can be scattering without risk. Furthermore, This burning will not need oil or gas like traditional cremations, but instead it returns an average surplus energy of 300 kWh per burning, energy that can be used to decrease the energy needs in the promator.
Promessa® offers an ecological solution to kill viruses and bacteria instead of using some alkaline solutions and detergents which are harmful for the environment. Promession® is an appealing solution that must not be underestimated, as it makes death be less meaningless, once you understand the positive contribution to the environment, the living soil, the carbon sequestration the body remains can be, and thus how climate smart it is.
Basically, there are highlighted 3 solutions to reduce the impact of harmful virus and bacteria:
1) the promession® method starts with the freezing of the corpse. The bacteria and virus will “hibernate”, so there is no bacteria or virus proliferation in this phase. Thus, if immediately upgrading the cooling rooms/refrigeration chambers to freezing areas at -18 degrees C, it would stop bacteria and virus proliferation, and give the burial industry a more safe and relaxed time schedule for the care taking, which as well goes for the grieving party, for arranging the funeral and burial or cremation
2) the ultraviolet light disarm virus and bacteria (this fact it is well known and it is proven knowledge), so the promator® can be customized and have a UV process. The efficiency of the UV treatment is due to the body tissue being crumbled into small pieces according to the concept of promession®
3) there is no such competitive place as the top soil, “the living soil”, to disarm harmful/pathogenic bacteria. As you know, the promession® method issuing the top soil for burial, so the grave is not deeper than 0,5 meters, and the concept involves some promoting additives for a correct and efficient natural process.
Much knowledge about if deceased bodies are spreading diseases has been documented from catastrophes like the tsunami in Thailand… and as well the professional embalmers have been taught about the drop-spread infections from deceased. Thus, the promession® method is just showing the way for avoiding the spreading of diseases.