What is Embalming?

Answer: Embalming, by definition, is the “process of chemically treating the dead human body to reduce the presence and growth of microorganisms, to temporarily inhibit organic decomposition, and to restore an acceptable physical appearance.”  This process is usually performed by injecting a formaldehyde based chemical into the arterial system.  The formaldehyde reacts with proteins in the body and renders them unsuitable for microorganisms to grow on.  This is a temporary situation and the body will eventually decompose naturally depending on several external factors such as the type of casket and soil conditions.  Embalming is not legally required except when transporting across borders or with public transportation, although many funeral homes require embalming if there is to be a public viewing.