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#210302 - 10/25/10 09:09 PM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: nurit]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1342
Originally Posted By: nurit
Thanks, Blast.

Cody Lundin deals with this topic in pp. 274-284 of "When All Hell Breaks Loose."


Thanks, I found the above mentioned pages on Google Books
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Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

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#210318 - 10/26/10 01:18 AM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: dweste]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
Interesting the special caution to journalists NOT to call for, or spread hysteria regarding, need for incineration or mass burial of dead bodies to "avoid epidemics".

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#210325 - 10/26/10 05:17 AM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: dweste]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Having had to deal with a few dead bodies I think you're going to find that hydrated lime comes in handy. It is also handy for dealing with other biological wastes, water treatment, construction, soil stabilization, and mud control.

Lime really helps with the smell and mess. Well limed the corpses tend to stay drier and be far less runny. More mummy, less infernal puddle.

Also, the first thought many have is to put bodies in plastic. This works for a few hours, and can be handy short term, or if you have refrigeration, but the plastic holds in moisture and you can end up with the worse soup imaginable. Wrapped in adsorbent and permeable material the water evaporates and after an initial royal funk, while the insides stew, the smell dissipates as the corpse dries out.

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#210344 - 10/26/10 03:59 PM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: dweste]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
Interesting about the lime. I think that .pdf file above from Red Cross or whatever said lime wasn't of any particular value.

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#210348 - 10/26/10 07:25 PM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: NightHiker]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Feeding bodies to hogs might be a viable short-term solution to a relatively small problem, but it could also cause larger problems. Large-scale disasters seem to be where disease crops up on a regular basis -- see what is happening in Haiti right now.

The veterinarian I used to work for said that pigs are probably the biggest source of disease and parasites transmittable to humans after primates. (That's probably why they have been considered one of the top sources of organ donor material for humans, but the disease transmission problem is why it isn't done much, so far. It's also probably the reason why you can't sell feral pig meat in some states.)

"...organisms that are not pathogens in the native host species but which cause disease in other species, in this case, the human recipient." Source

The famous (or infamous) Swine Flu isn't the only thing that can be passed on to humans. There is also Anthrax, Brucellosis, Bovine/Porcine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), Erysipelas, Leptospirosis, Meningitis, various pneumonias, Rabies, Salmonellosis, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Dengue fever, and a bunch of parasites.

There's always a catch, isn't there?

Sue

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#210360 - 10/26/10 09:05 PM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: dweste]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
Presumably, the pig fodder method of body disposal would complicate the process of identification of the remains and returning them to their NOK. I guess there is a branch of science somewhere devoted to forensic examination of animal waste. They need to make a living, too. ;-)

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#210361 - 10/26/10 09:07 PM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: sotto]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: sotto
Interesting about the lime. I think that .pdf file above from Red Cross or whatever said lime wasn't of any particular value.


I don't know for sure why they would say that. Frankly I haven't had time or the energy to read the Red Cross pdf yet. If finishing my reading list is what triggers my death; I will never die.

Just a guess, but generally one of the main concern with the Red Cross is typically disease control. Corpses, contrary to popular belief, and a point likely emphasized by the RC, are not a major source of disease. Using lime to control disease from decomposing corpses is futile because corpses are not a major source of disease. The major source of disease are the infected living. Liming live people is generally frowned upon.

The benefits of lime are, in my experience, primarily aesthetic. The stench of rotting corpses is not dangerous or infectious. People used to think smells carried diseases. The term "malaria" literally means 'bad air'. Which is what they thought caused malaria. The fear of 'sewer gas' is a superstition that has survived into teh modern area.

That said foul smells are IMO not entirely secondary. The cloying smell of a rotting corpse can be literally sickening, even as they are not infectious. Also, In many ways, smells define how we feel and think.

The Red Cross is primarily concerned with keeping people alive. Lime should not be a primary concern. You wouldn't want to displace more vital supplies, food/water/medicine, with lime. That said, as individuals and families, a few sacks of lime would bring some welcome relief from the stench. Even short of dad bodies it is useful. A bit of lime regularly spread over the latrine trenches makes a big difference. A camp that smells sweet is going to be a happier camp and a less stressful environment.

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#210364 - 10/26/10 09:40 PM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: dweste]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
About the lime: my obsessive compulsive disorder drove me back to the Red Cross publication mentioned above to resurrect (sorry) exactly what they said about lime use. It was in the FAQ section at the end of the publication, and as usual with brief replies, raises more questions than it answers. At any rate, I quote:

"4. Is spraying bodies with disinfectant or lime powder useful?

No, it has no effect. It does not hasten decomposition or provide any protection."

I hope this buries (doh!) the issue once and for all. ;-)

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#210367 - 10/26/10 10:05 PM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: sotto]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6346
Loc: southern Cal
You are correct. The issue is now dead.
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Geezer in Chief

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#210369 - 10/26/10 10:11 PM Re: Concern for the dead [Re: dweste]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Sotto - I don't think there is any need to apologize. You didn't do anything wrong. I failed to make it clear why I was advocating keeping some lime around and your question allowed me the opportunity to explain.

Having some experience in the area I think I've got it right. Lime is useful in making the presence of decomposing bodies less offensive. I wouldn't post it if I didn't think I had it right. But I could still be wrong on some level. It wouldn't be the first time I got something wrong. Anyone who comes here and takes posts as written, uncritically, entirely on faith. Is doing themselves a disservice.

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