Bill S657A-2011

Makes possession and sale of embalming fluid a violation

Makes possession and sale of embalming fluid a misdemeanor.



  • Apr 17, 2012: SUBSTITUTED BY A3964A
  • Mar 28, 2012: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Mar 27, 2012: 1ST REPORT CAL.464
  • Feb 14, 2012: PRINT NUMBER 657A
  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO CODES
  • Jan 4, 2012: returned to senate
  • Jan 4, 2012: died in assembly
  • Mar 21, 2011: referred to codes
  • Mar 21, 2011: PASSED SENATE
  • Mar 9, 2011: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • Mar 8, 2011: 1ST REPORT CAL.171
  • Jan 5, 2011: REFERRED TO CODES


VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Health - Mar 27, 2012
Ayes (16): Hannon, Ball, Farley, Fuschillo, Golden, Larkin, McDonald, Seward, Young, Duane, Gianaris, Montgomery, Rivera, Smith, Stewart-Cousins, Peralta
Ayes W/R (1): Adams



TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to criminal possession and unlawful sale of embalming fluid

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To prevent the recreational and dangerous ingestion or inhalation of embalming fluid in combination with other illegal drugs.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends the Public Health Law by adding a definition of embalming fluid.

Section 2 amends the public health law by adding a new violation to the section of law dealing with the enforcement and discipline for funeral directors, undertakers, and embalmers. This new violation would penalize any funeral director, undertaker, or embalmer who sells or offers for sale embalming fluid to another person with actual knowledge that such person is not a licensed funeral director, undertaker, or embalmer, or registered student, and that such person would be using the embalming fluid for purposes outside the scope of funeral directing or embalming activities.

Section 3 establishes an effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Last year in Syracuse, a couple was severely injured when they were struck head-on by an impaired driver. Before getting in the car and running down the couple, the driver had smoked a cigarette dipped in embalming fluid laced with phencyclidine (PCP), a strong hallucinogen. One of the victims of the crash spent weeks in a coma and almost lost a limb. The other victim suffered nearly serious injuries. This tragic story exemplified a rapidly growing problem: the recreation use of embalming fluid, specifically when mixed with illegal narcotics.

Embalming fluid, a chemical compound containing formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol, and other solvents, is a highly flammable poison, its purpose is to preserve the dead by making the body an unsuitable host for bacteria and other organisms. Although embalming fluid is a legal substance, when mixed with drugs it can produce a hallucinogenic and often violent reaction, Since it is a legal substance, the fluid is available online. The most common usage is to use the fluid in combination with Phencyclidine (PCP) to allow the PCP to be laced with Marijuana, tobacco and other drugs. The embalming fluid acts as a solvent for the PCP.

Healthcare officials have noted an increase in the case of drugs being mixed with embalming fluid. In fact, Syracuse-area hospitals are preparing to handle twice the number of embalming fluid (PCP) cases compared to last year. This bill aims to prevent such cases and other tragedies by adding a new penalty within the public health law regulating the funeral directing and embalming professions. Funeral directors and embalmers who illegally sell embalming fluid to unauthorized possessors face stiff penalties including the possible loss of their license.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010: S.7542-B / A.11509


EFFECTIVE DATE: On the 180th day after this bill shall become law.


STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 657--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes -- recommitted to the Committee on Codes in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to criminal possession and unlawful sale of embalming fluid THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 3400 of the public health law is amended by adding a new subdivision (l) to read as follows: (L) "EMBALMING FLUID" MEANS ANY CHEMICALS OR SUBSTANCES MANUFACTURED PRIMARILY FOR USE BY LICENSED FUNERAL DIRECTORS, UNDERTAKERS OR EMBAL- MERS, OR REGISTERED RESIDENTS, TO PREPARE, DISINFECT OR PRESERVE, EITHER HYPODERMICALLY, ARTERIALLY OR BY ANY OTHER RECOGNIZED MEANS THE BODY OF A DECEASED PERSON FOR BURIAL, CREMATION OR OTHER FINAL DISPOSITION. S 2. Paragraph (f) of subdivision 1 of section 3455 of the public health law is relettered paragraph (g) and a new paragraph (f) is added to read as follows: (F) BEING A FUNERAL DIRECTOR, UNDERTAKER OR EMBALMER, OR REGISTERED RESIDENT, KNOWINGLY GIVE, SELL, PERMIT TO BE SOLD, OFFER FOR SALE OR DISPLAY FOR SALE, OTHER THAN FOR PURPOSES WITHIN THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THEIR ACTIVITIES AS A LICENSED FUNERAL DIRECTOR, UNDERTAKER OR EMBALMER, OR REGISTERED RESIDENT, EMBALMING FLUID TO ANOTHER PERSON WITH ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE THAT SUCH OTHER PERSON IS NOT A LICENSED FUNERAL DIRECTOR, UNDERTAKER OR EMBALMER, OR REGISTERED RESIDENT, OR ENTITY AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM EMBALMING ACTIVITIES UNDER SECTION THIRTY-FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY OF THIS ARTICLE OR ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN ARTICLE FORTY-TWO OF THIS CHAP- TER; OR S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.


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