Funeral industry members frequently claim that dead bodies are a source of contagion to the public, and that embalming is necessary to prevent the spread of disease.

Some will also claim that unembalmed dead bodies must be buried in a casket and a vault to prevent "contamination" of groundwater. These assertions are not true.

The myth of contagion from dead bodies is one of the most persistent of the American funeral industry, and it's important for journalists to know there is no evidence, peer-reviewed or otherwise, to justify it.

In fact, there is overwhelming scientific evidence against it. This guide should help you separate funeral myth from fact.

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