I am with a lab microwave vendor; please don't dismiss this e-mail as
you read the first couple of paragraphs that amount to a "disclaimer:"
We at EBS, a pioneer in the development of laboratory microwaves,
discourage the use of formalin in the microwave (see page 16 in our
"Microwave Companion" booklet,
http://www.ebsciences.com/pdf/EBS_MW_COMPANION.pdf). Formalin is
insidious due to its desensitizing action, and inherently hazardous in
that 100ppm is immediately dangerous to life and health. One whiff of
fumes from a tray of warm formalin can fell, if not kill, a person. This
is why EBS actively promotes safe and effective alternatives to formalin
such as glyoxal-based fixatives.
That said, we also recognize the many compelling reasons many
laboratories will continue to use formalin as long as possible, for
example, the only FDA-approved HER2/neu test requires formalin fixation.
So as a concession to these realities, we can make the following
recommendations (however, this is not to be taken as endorsement of
microwaving formalin in any form - ought to make our lawyers happy!):
Depending upon the microwave processor in question, provided it is
externally vented, many non-standard formalin mixtures can be safe and
effective, given reasonable precautions, care, and common sense.
Equipment contacting mixtures containing metals such as zinc (e.g., zinc
formalin) should be kept clean after each run, in order to prevent
arcing (sparking). Acidic or basic mixtures should immediately be
cleaned from microwave surfaces. You mention Bouin's - naturally, you
want to avoid crystallization of Bouins since solid picric acid is an
explosive, but microwaving aqueous solutions per se should be OK (though
flammable mixtures should be treated with some care).
If you wanted to provide me a "laundry list" of precise formulations and
protocols, I should be able to evaluate these for you.
Microwave Product Manager
Energy Beam Sciences, Inc.
29-B Kripes Rd.
East Granby, CT 06026
Tel: 800.992.9037 x 341
I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it's been.
- Wayne Gretsky
You must be the change you want to see in the world.
- Mahatma Gandhi
NOTE: This message, together with any attachments, is intended only for
the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may
contain information that is legally privileged, confidential and exempt
from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, however, there's
not a lot I can do about it, and it was probably my mistake anyway. So
please do the right thing and make this e-mail go away. Thank you.
Weaver, Colin wrote:
> Hi everyone - can anyone tell me if you can use fixatives such as
> Bouins, Zenkers or any other non standard formalin fixatives in a
> microwave processer.
> Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA)
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