Why are Body Bags white?


Body bag, also known as a cadaver pouch or human remains pouch (HRP), is a non-porous bag designed to contain a human body, used for the storage and transportation of corpses. Body bags can also be used for the storage of corpses within morgues.

Body bags are sometimes portrayed in films and television as being made of heavy black plastic. Lightweight white body bags have since become popular because it is much easier to spot a piece of evidence that may have been jostled from the body in transit on a white background than on a black background. Even so, black body bags are still in general use. Other typical colors include orange, blue, or gray. Body bags used in the Vietnam War were heavy-duty black rubberized fabric. Regardless of their color, body bags are made of thick plastic and have a full-length zipper on them. Sometimes the zipper runs straight down the middle. Alternatively, the path of the zipper may be J-shaped or D-shaped. Depending on the design, there are sometimes handles (two on each side) to facilitate lifting. It is possible to write information on the plastic surface of a body bag using a marker pen, and this often happens—either in situ (particularly when many bodies are being collected) or at the mortuary, before being stored in refrigerated cabinets. Alternatively, some designs of body bags have transparent label pockets as an integral part of the design, into which a name-card can be inserted. In any case, a conventional toe tag can easily be tied to one of the lifting handles if required or used to bind two zippers to show a lack of tampering. Body bags are not designed to be washed and re-used. Aside from the obvious hygiene concerns, re-use of body bags could easily contaminate evidence in the case of a suspicious death. As a result, body bags are routinely discarded and incinerated after one use.