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The Associated Press June 2, 2011, 1:36PM ET

States consider: Is it legal to dissolve bodies?

More states are opening the door for funeral businesses to dissolve bodies with lye and heat instead of burning or burying the remains.

Changes taking effect this year allow the use of alkaline hydrolysis in Colorado, Kansas and Maryland. Lawmakers in New York and California also are considering it.

Funeral directors are starting a push to make it legal in Ohio, where regulators blocked the only U.S. funeral home to use the procedure so far.

The process is generating buzz at funeral industry association meetings and in mortuary science classes.

Proponents say the process has lower operating costs and is more environmentally friendly than cremation. But skeptics question the social implications of sending someone's remains down the drain, and whether it's safe for the environment and public health.

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