Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain by Jessica Mitford

The book is an exposé of the funeral industry in the United States written by Jessica Mitford and published in 1963. It was her first book. In the book, Mitford investigates how undertakers go about their business, from selling coffins to embalming bodies.

She argues that the funeral industry takes advantage of grieving people by overcharging them for services and using deceptive marketing practices.

In her book, Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain, Jessica Mitford takes a look at the funeral industry and how it operates. She reveals some of the secrets that are kept from the public about how bodies are prepared for burial and how much money is involved. She also discusses how the industry is regulated and what you can do to ensure that your loved one is treated with dignity after they die.

Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain  by Jessica Mitford


What is behind the Formaldehyde Curtain About?

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas with a strong odor. It is used in many household products and is also produced naturally by some animals. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause health problems including watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty breathing.

Some people may be more sensitive to formaldehyde than others. Long-term exposure has been linked to cancer. The EPA has set standards for formaldehyde emissions from wood products such as particle board and laminate flooring.

These standards are designed to protect public health. Some companies that make or use formaldehyde have voluntarily agreed to reduce their emissions of the gas. You can help reduce your exposure by choosing products made with less formaldehyde or no formaldehyde at all.

What is Mitford’S Thesis?

In her book The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford argues that the modern American funeral industry is a “racket” that preys on the fears and vulnerabilities of grieving consumers. According to Mitford, the funeral industry has been able to achieve its current level of success by convincing Americans that they need to spend large sums of money on funerals in order to properly honor their deceased loved ones. Mitford’s thesis is that the modern American funeral industry is an unethical business that takes advantage of people who are grieving.

She argues that the funeral industry has been able to convince Americans that they need to spend a lot of money on funerals, even though this is not actually necessary.

What is the Tone in behind the Formaldehyde Curtain?

The tone in “Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain” is one of investigative journalism. Author Jessica Mitford is looking into the funeral industry and its practices, specifically the use of formaldehyde to embalm bodies. She speaks to a variety of sources, from funeral directors to scientists, in order to get a well-rounded view of the situation.

While she does take some shots at the industry (calling it “big business”), her overall tone is even-handed and objective.

What Key Mortuary Terms Interest Mitford?

When Jessica Mitford wrote her book, The American Way of Death, she was interested in the terms that mortuaries used to sell their services. She found that many of the terms were misleading and designed to make people feel comfortable with spending more money than they needed to. Here are some of the key mortuary terms that Mitford was interested in:

Embalming: Embalming is the process of preserving a body by injecting it with chemicals. Mortuaries often claim that embalming is necessary to prevent decomposition, but this is not true. Decomposition will occur whether or not a body is embalmed.

In fact, embalming actually speeds up decomposition because it breaks down tissue and makes it easier for bacteria to grow. Casket: A casket is simply a box that a body is placed in for burial or cremation. Caskets can be made from wood, metal or fiberglass, and they come in a variety of styles and sizes.

Mortuaries often try to sell expensive “sealed” caskets, which they claim will keep the body from decomposing. However, all caskets will eventually leak and allow air and moisture in, which accelerates decomposition. Viewing: Viewing refers to when family members or friends come to see the deceased before the funeral service.

While viewing can be helpful for those who are grieving, it is not necessary from a medical standpoint. In fact, viewings can actually delay the healing process because they prolong exposure to the deceased’s appearance. Additionally, viewings are often held in funeral homes which charge high fees for use of their facilities.

"Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain"

Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain Pdf

If you’re looking for a behind-the-scenes look at the formaldehyde industry, Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain is the book for you. Author and investigative journalist Stephen L. Miller takes readers on a journey through the history of this controversial chemical, from its early use in embalming fluid to its more recent applications in the production of consumer goods. Along the way, he uncovers some disturbing truths about the health hazards associated with formaldehyde exposure and the lengths to which industry representatives have gone to downplay these risks.

Despite its well-documented dangers, formaldehyde is still used in a variety of industries today. If you’re concerned about your exposure to this toxic substance, Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain is essential reading.


The blog post is about Jessica Mitford’s experience working in a funeral home. She describes the process of embalming and how it is done. She also talks about the different chemicals that are used in the process and how they can be harmful to the environment and to people.

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