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CANA ICF Convention 2017 - New York City

Hot, humid and very interesting. That is the shortest way to describe the convention that was held August 16-18 last in New York. The ICF is very happy that it was decided to team up with the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) 99th annual cremation convention.

New York is obviously a very attractive venue for any convention and the convention, not surprisingly,  welcomed representatives from all over the world, including the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.

As temperatures outside the convention hotel reached tropical levels, the different seminars and sessions provided information and discussions on different topics concerning cremation and bereavement. For CANA this was a “milestone convention” as it was reported that the U.S. cremation rate for 2016 exceeded 50% , for the first time in history.

The different keynote speakers provided ideas to meet the well-known and new challenges that we all face in cremation. Discussions on how to adapt in a world of shifting traditions, regulations and expectations from grieving families gave a lot of food for thought.

The “International Panel” was a great success and showed again that next to the many differences that exist in traditions and regulations, there are also many of the same challenges that all crematoria face, wherever in the world they are situated. With Jerry Sullivan (ICF President) as moderator the panellists Miriam Deacon (U.K.), Dr. Shoji Eguchi (Japan), Henry Keizer (The Netherlands), Dr. Rolf Lichtner (Germany) and Darryl Thomas (Australia) were able to answer the many questions that came from the audience. It was a lively and educational session.

During the ICF General Council meeting Jerry Sullivan was re-elected as ICF President and the Annual Financial Report was discussed and approved. The Secretary-General gave his report regarding the activities of the Secretariat and the Executive Committee, that included the many contacts with national and local governments, the media and other international associations and societies.

The new medical developments concerning battery operated devices were discussed in great detail.
Implants of very small devices, that are now being used, cannot be as easily removed before cremation as the pace makers that we have known so far. In many countries there are currently laws or regulations that dictate the removal of battery operated devices before a cremation can be performed. Next to this several manufacturers of cremators claim that any damage to the cremator and/or refractory caused by potential explosions due to battery operated devices are the responsibility of the operator and excluded from any responsibility of the manufacturer.
The producers of the newly developed devices claim that cremation can take place without post-mortem removal. They have presented reports from specialists that support this claim.
The ICF is currently investigating, in cooperation with a university and a cremation equipment manufacturer, if the claim of the producers can be substantiated with independent research.
The ICF membership will be informed about the outcome of this research. This does not take away the fact that members should investigate what rules in their individual country stipulate regarding the removal of battery operated devices.

There is reason to congratulate the Board of Directors and staff of the CANA, as they have been a gracious host to a very successful convention that provided the attendees with a great program, a variety of information, and the meeting of old and new friends… Job well done !        


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