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North Carolina General Statutes § 90-210.129 Cremation procedures

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(a)        In deaths certified by the attending physician, the body shall not be cremated before the crematory licensee receives a death certificate signed by the attending physician, which shall contain at a minimum the following information:

(1)        Decedent's name;

(2)        Date of death;

(3)        Date of birth;

(4)        Sex;

(5)        Place of death;

(6)        Facility name (if not institution, give street and number);

(7)        County of death;

(8)        City of death; and

(9)        Time of death (if known).

(b)        When required by G.S. 130A-388 and the rules adopted pursuant to that section or by successor statute and the rules pursuant to it, a cremation authorization form signed by a medical examiner shall be received by the crematory prior to cremation.

(c)        In deaths coming under full investigation by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, a burial-transit permit/cremation authorization form must be received by the crematory before cremation.

(d)       No body shall knowingly be cremated with a pacemaker or defibrillator or other potentially hazardous implant or condition in place. The authorizing agent for the cremation of the human remains shall be responsible for taking all necessary steps to ensure that any pacemaker or defibrillator or other potentially hazardous implant or condition is removed or corrected prior to cremation. If an authorizing agent informs the funeral director and the crematory licensee on the cremation authorization form of the presence of a pacemaker or defibrillator or other potentially hazardous implant or condition in the human remains, then the funeral director shall be responsible for ensuring that all necessary steps have been taken to remove the pacemaker or defibrillator or other potentially hazardous implant or to correct the hazardous condition before delivering the human remains to the crematory.

(e)        Human remains shall not be cremated within 24 hours after the time of death, unless such death was a result of an infectious, contagious, or communicable and dangerous disease as listed by the Commission for Public Health, pursuant to G.S. 130A-134, and unless such time requirement is waived in writing by the medical examiner, county health director, or attending physician where the death occurred.

(f)        No unauthorized person shall be permitted in view of the cremation chamber or in the holding and processing facility while any human remains are being removed from the cremation container, processed, or pulverized. Relatives of the deceased and their invitees, the authorizing agent and the agent's invitees, medical examiners, Inspectors of the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service, and law enforcement officers in the execution of their duties shall be authorized to have access to the crematory area, subject to the rules adopted by the crematory licensee governing the safety of such individuals.

(g)        Human remains shall be cremated only while enclosed in a cremation container. Upon completion of the cremation, and insofar as is possible, all of the recoverable residue of the cremation process shall be removed from the cremation chamber. Insofar as is possible, all residue of the cremation process shall then be separated from any foreign residue or anything else other than bone fragments and then be processed by pulverization so as to reduce the cremated remains to unidentifiable particles. Any foreign residue and anything other than the particles of the cremated remains shall be removed from the cremated remains as far as possible and shall be disposed of by the crematory licensee. This section does not apply where law otherwise provides for commingling of human remains. The fact that there is incidental and unavoidable residue in the cremation chamber used in a prior cremation is not a violation of this subsection.

(h)        The simultaneous cremation of the human remains of more than one person within the same cremation chamber is forbidden.

(i)         Every crematory shall have a holding and processing facility, within the crematory, designated for the retention of human remains prior to cremation. The holding and processing facility must comply with any applicable public health laws and rules and must meet all of the standards established pursuant to rules adopted by the Board.

(j)         Crematory licensees shall comply with standards established by the Board for the processing and pulverization of human remains by cremation.

(k)        Nothing in this Article shall require a crematory licensee to perform a cremation that is impossible or impractical to perform.

(l)         The cremated remains with proper identification shall be placed in an initial container or the urn selected or provided by the authorizing agent. The initial container or urn contents shall not be contaminated with any other object, unless specific authorization has been received from the authorizing agent or as provided in subsection (g) of this section.

(m)       If the cremated remains are greater than the dimensions of an initial container or urn, the excess cremated remains shall be returned to the authorizing agent or its representative in a separate container or urn.

(n)        If the cremated remains are to be shipped, the initial container or urn shall be packed securely in a suitable shipping container that complies with the requirements of the shipper. Cremated remains shall be shipped only by a method which has an internal tracing system available and which provides a receipt signed by the person accepting delivery, unless otherwise authorized in writing by the authorizing agent. Cremated remains shall be shipped to the proper address as stated on the cremation authorization form signed by the authorizing agent.

(o)        Unless the provisions of G.S. 130A-114 apply, before cremation the crematory licensee shall receive a written statement, on a form prescribed by the Board and signed by the attending physician, acknowledging the circumstances, date, and time of the delivery of the fetal remains from the mother. If after reasonable efforts no physician can be identified with knowledge and information sufficient to complete the written statement required by this subsection, the crematory licensee shall obtain documentation of the circumstances, date, and time of delivery of the fetal remains prepared by a hospital, medical facility, law enforcement agency, or other entity. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, health care providers may release to a licensee, in accordance with the federal Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), medical records that document the circumstances, date, and time of delivery of fetal remains. If the crematory licensee cannot identify documents sufficient to meet the requirements of this subsection, the licensee shall report to the local medical examiner pursuant to G.S. 130A-383(a).

(p)        If the provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes apply, the crematory licensee shall receive a fetal report of death as prescribed in G.S. 130A-114.

(q)        Before the cremation of amputated body parts, the crematory licensee shall receive a written statement, on a form prescribed by the Board and signed by the attending physician, acknowledging the circumstances of the amputation. If after reasonable efforts no physician can be identified with knowledge and information sufficient to complete the written statement required by this subsection, the crematory licensee shall notify the local medical examiner pursuant to G.S. 130A-383(b). This section does not apply to the disposition of body parts cremated pursuant to Part 3A of Article 16 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes.  (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 988, s. 1; 1997-399, s. 19; 2003-420, s. 2; 2007-182, s. 1.2; 2007-531, s. 23; 2008-153, s. 6.)

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Last modified: March 23, 2014