Is embalming required by law?

By: William Spence
Thursday, September 29, 2022

Embalming is only required by Pennsylvania law under certain circumstances.  If it is the desire of the family to have a public viewing of the deceased, the law requires that the body be embalmed if the viewing occurs after 24 hours following death.  Embalming may also be required if the deceased cannot be buried within 24 hours and refrigeration is not available.  Finally, the 28 Pa. Code § 27.203 states, “…a body of a person who had died of …communicable diseases, it shall be the duty of the undertaker… to disinfect thoroughly by arterial and cavity injection with approved disinfectant fluid…”.  28 Pa. Code § 27.203.  In situations when a communicable disease is present, cremation may be an alternative to embalming.

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