Is perfection possible or are there always compromises to be made? Are we better aiming for perfection in one area at the expense of another or should we look for the best all-around compromise? How do we balance the needs of customers against the wider issues of health and the environment?
Here at Naturensbalm, we continue to ask whether formaldehyde really offers perfection. Certainly, it offers a predictable and accustomed result; in over 100 years of use it has become an industry gold standard, but we wonder whether that effect is worth having if it is at the expense of the environment and the health of practitioners.
Alternatives which offer a very good effect - but which are safer - may well be just as acceptable or even preferable. If we could offer customers something that is, say 80% perfect (but, for example, doesn't hold for more than 10 days or firm up the features in the same way) but which was also 99% perfect in health and environment terms, would that be better than 100% perfection - in terms of holding and firming up the features - and 0% perfection in all other respects? Would people, in a world that is increasingly aware of pollution and health risks, agree that the gold standard is, in fact, unnecessary and unsustainable?
Furthermore, across most industries, these subtle alterations in methodology are taking place on behalf of consumers (whether they know it or not) because of top-down directives, through the general development of safer practices, or because of consumer demand. It is possible, therefore, to argue that new techniques and styles could be introduced as industry standards.
Much depends, of course, on the situation in question and certainly for longer-term embalming requirements, there is currently no alternative to formaldehyde, but there are many, many cases where 'perfection' is, in fact, a greater compromise than any other.