Official guidance on procuring body bags

June 11, 2020   //   No Comments

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has issued the following guidance with regard to PVC body bags.

Some body bags are made from plastic-based, highly halogenated materials such as Poly-Vinyl Chloride (PVC). Combustion of PVC and other highly halogenated materials can cause dioxin formation during the cremation process. Dioxins are harmful to human health and the environment.

As a preventative measure to avoid potential dioxin emissions, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) would like to highlight the following:Public Health England (PHE) guidance states that if body bags are used for cremation, they must not contain any PVC or any highly chlorinated material.

In addition, body bags made of other materials containing a high level of halogens (chlorine, fluorine, bromine and iodine) should not be procured where practically possible. There are alternatives to PVC body bags available, made using materials which are not highly chlorinated or halogenated.

Please note this DHSC specification for body bags. PHE guidance on the use of body bags for deceased persons who are suspected or confirmed to have died from Covid-19 can be found here. Additionally, questions or concerns can be emailed to: Control.Pollution@defra.gov.uk.

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