How long does embalming last?

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Even if perfectly embalmed, every body will sooner or later decompose. How soon depends on the quality of embalming, burial container, burial location (such as mausoleum or in-ground). One funeral director I know exhumed a body 5 years after it was buried. The remains were well preserved except for some mold growing on the face. However, if given enough time, these remains will eventually break down. Placing the casket in an aboveground mausoleum accelerates the decomposition process, including the production of decomposition gasses, due to the summertime heat. Because of this, there is much debate about "sealer caskets," caskets that have a rubber gasket around the lid. According to Batesville Casket Company, their "Monoseal" casket keeps out moisture and vermin while allowing decomposition gasses to escape. However, there are stories of some caskets actually exploding due to the buildup of these gases. This article gives a little better insight into this disturbing subject. Some of ... more
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