How can I test whether it's bone or stone?

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Offline NonGeekSeeksHelp

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How can I test whether it's bone or stone?
« on: 17/06/2016 14:48:45 »
Hello. I paid 1170 to have my horse individually cremated after she suffered a terrible accident. Ive had the 'ashes' back a couple of days ago, but didnt receive anywhere near enough (6lbs instead of 16 - 20kg). Cross and suspicious I got the name of the 'crematorium' from the vets to find they're a knackers yard that also trades in aggregate. When I unscrewed the casket and cut into the bin bag the contents look more like the gravel people put in the bottom of fish tanks than the bone shards that make up cremation ashes. (I have the ashes of my dog to compare them to, which might look different to equine ashes. Maybe. But surely bone is bone and should look similar?). When I finally got the company to speak to be yesterday they told me they'd sent me back 'token' ashes and the rest of my beloved horse had sat in a commercial waste bin until it was full, and then been sent to landfill. Im sickened obviously and legally think I'm covered by a number of consumer laws, though of course that wont provide me a second chance to give my beautiful mare the send off she deserves. But now I'm even more curious as to whether what they've sent me is even cremains at all - or just tiny stone chip pings. Is there any way I can test it with regular household stuff? Id be really grateful for your help. Thanks, Jane

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Offline Colin2B

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Re: How can I test whether it's bone or stone?
« Reply #1 on: 18/06/2016 09:11:52 »
I would expect your horse ash to be similar to dog ash in appearance.
Density might be a clue but to measure it you would have grind up fine to remove air gaps.
As bone contains calcium it might react to acid, but so will some stones eg limestone - does anyone else here have any thoughts?

Have you approached your local trading standards for advice, or an equestrian society might have experts and might want to take up your case.

As you say, nothing will change what has happened, but remains should be treated with the respect you paid for.
« Last Edit: 18/06/2016 09:15:27 by Colin2B »
and the misguided shall lead the gullible,
the feebleminded have inherited the earth.

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Offline thedoc

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How can I test the difference between bone and stone?
« Reply #2 on: 21/06/2016 00:50:01 »
Jane asked the Naked Scientists:
   Hello.  Is there an easy way to test if a substance is bone or stone? Ive just paid  1170 (that I had to borrow) to have my poor horse cremated. They didnt send enough ashes back and when I checked out the firm that did it, aside from the fact they're not a proper crematorium, they're a commercial incinerator, they also sell aggregate. And the small bag of 'stuff' they've sent me looks like the shingle you buy for the bottom of fish bowls. Ive had other animals cremated and this doesn't look like bone shards. Is there a simple test I can do at home?
Its really important to me and would be so grateful for help.
Many thanks.
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 21/06/2016 00:50:01 by _system »

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Offline Atomic-S

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Re: How can I test the difference between bone and stone?
« Reply #3 on: 21/06/2016 07:43:42 »
I would start with magnification. If you say that they do not look alike, they should differ. However, to use this as legal proof, you would have to be able to describe accurately the difference. I suspect however that for legal action, some sort of expert testimony would  be required.
 

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Offline NonGeekSeeksHelp

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Re: How can I test whether it's bone or stone?
« Reply #4 on: 28/06/2016 12:05:15 »
Hello there and thanks for your response. I complained about it and they've refunded the fee, tho obviously that doesn't help with my poor Tiana having wound cremated with sheep and dumped in landfill, which is apparently what happened :o( I don't think what I received was ashes. I borrowed a microscope and they're not porous. But the vets that organised it are changing the way they manage equine cremations as a result so at least it wont happen to anyone else. But many thanks for responding, Jane

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: How can I test whether it's bone or stone?
« Reply #5 on: 28/06/2016 13:54:32 »
Contact your local Trading Standards Office. There may be a criminal offence here.

Bone fragments will have a coarse structure under x-ray, and cremains have a very narrow spectrum of elements under chemical or fluorescence analysis (you won't expect to find much iron, silicon or aluminium, for instance, but plenty of calcium, and certainly not as carbonate).  The TSO can do the analysis or you can ask a local university chemistry, physics or engineering lab to have a look.
helping to stem the tide of ignorance

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Offline puppypower

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Re: How can I test whether it's bone or stone?
« Reply #6 on: 29/06/2016 12:09:28 »
You can grind the material into a powder and weight a standard amount; 1 gram. You then dump this into water to get the volume; graduated cylinder. Submerged objects will displace their volume in water.

From this you get a density. You can look up the density of CaPO4 and compare; CaPO4 or bone is 3.14 grams/CC; CaCO3 has a density of 2.71 grams/cc; Granite is 2.75 grams/cc.