Turning Art into Science

Applying Chemistry to Funeral Service


Turning Art into Science-Applying Chemistry to Funeral Service


...For years I have scorned the fact that there is only a limited amount of resource material available on the topic of modern embalming. The chemistry that surrounds the art, although fundamental to the process itself is left to sidelines, unexplored and neglected. This publication meets these needs head on, exploring the chemistry that shapes our work in a clear and accessible manner. I have no doubt that this publication will become a corner stone in funeral education. A truly satisfying read...

-Michael Clarke, Death care Academy of Ireland




...One could say that you diluted chemistry into a more palatable and effective concentration for your embalming students...

-Claudette Delva, Technician, Willed Body Program, Anatomy Dept. at UCSF


Unit I


Dave McCament, AS, BS- Cypress College Mortuary Science Department
Kevin Gerzevske, PhD Organic Chemistry- University of California, Davis
Chemistry and the Funeral Service Practitioner
The Study of Matter

Atoms and Compounds

Molecules and Reactions

Water and Solutions

Postmortem pH Shift


Unit II


Gary Brown, LFD, MA- St. Petersburg College, Funeral Service and Arts

Donald Tzeng, PhD Organic Chemistry- University of Southern California


Funeral Service Chemicals

Antiseptics, Humectants and Cauterants

Preservatives and Disinfectants

Anticoagulants, Water Treatments and Fragrances

Decomposition Products

Putting It Together


Unit III


Jamye Cameron, MBA, CFSP-Lake Washington Funeral Service Education

Jack Lin, PhD Organic Chemistry- University of California, Davis


Introduction to Life

The Building Blocks of Life

The Engines of Life

The Fats of Life

The Structure of Life

The Energy of Life


Unit IV


Benjamin Schmidt, MS- Worsham College of Mortuary Science

Paula Fischhaber, PhD Biochemistry- University of Washington

Dennis Madison- OSHA Material Expert


The Brothers Mortis

Knowing What Can Kill You-Personal Protective Equipment

Turning Art into Science

Diluting Concentrated Embalming Fluid (The Math)

Life After Death

Building a Methylene Bridge





Selected Lectures