Re: [Histonet] microwaves in labs

From:Phil McArdle

   And  now  a  laboratory  microwave vendor weighs in, so you can decide
   whether  or not you want to read this, or what level of credibility we
   have (I'm getting out my Nomex flame-retardant suit):
   First of all, you're not stuck paying $35k for a lab microwave, even a
   model for processing.
   Second, please feel free to download our Microwave Companion, a purely
   "advancing-the-art" publication that does not attempt to sell anything
   at all: [1]
   Third, lab managers should be at least as concerned about OSHA as CAP;
   see  OSHA 29 CFR 1910.303(b)(2) which simply states that no food-grade
   microwave should be used for anything other than its intended purpose.
   Now, here's essentially a repeat of an earlier Histonet posting:
   Energy Beam Sciences, a pioneer in the use of microwaves in histology,
   has  maintained  for over a decade that consumer-grade microwaves have
   no  place  in  a  laboratory  setting. Admittedly, over the years some
   users  have  managed  to  achieve  varying  levels  of success in some
   "non-tissue-processing" applications like staining. However, I'd argue
   that  a  high number of failures due to this same approach have served
   to  regress the art via anecdotal microwave "horror stories." Now that
   microwaves  (both  consumer-grade and true laboratory instrumentation)
   are  in  routine  and  widespread  use in the histology laboratory, it
   should be unsurprising that CAP is taking this issue seriously.
   CAP  is  not  alone;  microwaves  in  histology  have  been  receiving
   increased  interest  from standards institutes such as CLSI (see their
   publication GP-28A), and significantly, governmental agencies. Besides
   Europe's   strict   IVDD   regulations,   in  the  USA  you  have  the
   aforementioned OSHA.
   It may be true that an external hood, fitted to a "kitchen" microwave,
   will  remove  vapors  from the lab. But consumer grade microwaves have
   other  limitations:  they are often prone to hot and cold spots within
   their   chambers,  usually  aren't  designed  or  built  to  take  the
   day-in-and-day-out  demands  of  the  histology laboratory, don't have
   calibrated  output,  and  don't  provide  the  means to measure output
   power, for example. Due to their long magnetron cycle times, there may
   be  no  difference  at  all  between  15  seconds at 100% power and 15
   seconds  at  20%  power.  These are not deficiencies, given the proper
   context:  heating  leftovers  or  reheating  cold coffee at home... an
   entirely different context from someone's biopsy, however.
   There's  also  the  question of liability exposure. If your laboratory
   were  party to any kind of lawsuit, whether as plaintiff or defendant,
   how  comfortable  would  you  be  if  it  came out that an inexpensive
   consumer appliance were being used, rather than available, appropriate
   laboratory  instrumentation,  even  if it had absolutely no bearing on
   the issue at hand?
   Now how does that $69 Wall-to-Wall-Mart microwave stack up?
   Late  in  2005,  after  a series of conversations and e-mails with CAP
   representatives  (and CLSI, whose publications CAP references), Energy
   Beam  Sciences  developed  some recommendations to help with these new
   checklist  items. An Acrobat file of said recommendations may be found
   on our website at
   (Note  that  the  requirement  for annual leakage measurement has been
   dropped, although it's still a good idea.)
   Also,  feel  free to browse our "library" section for articles, papers
   and protocols.
   Although  I  do  all  I  can to sell our laboratory microwaves, I'm at
   least  as interested in "advancing the art." To me, that translates to
   getting   consumer   microwaves  out  of  labs,  and  true  laboratory
   microwaves in, even if they're not ours.
   Best regards,
   Phil McArdle
Phil McArdle
Microwave Product Manager

Energy Beam Sciences, Inc.
29-B Kripes Rd.
East Granby, CT 06026

Tel:  800.992.9037 x 341
Mobile: 860.597.6796
Fax: 860.653.0422


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   Parker, Helayne wrote:

     I  was  wondering if anyone new what CAP require of us if we have a
     household microwave that we use for special stains.
     Helayne Parker,HT (ASCP)
     Histology Section Head
     Skaggs Community Health Center
     Branson, Missouri
     Histonet mailing list

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   Bartlett, Jeanine (CDC/CCID/NCZVED) wrote:

Hi all:

I'd like to know how many of you out there use non-laboratory grade
microwaves for specials stains.......specifically for heating
methenamine-silver for a GMS. For those that do, are there any safety
issues of which you are aware?

Thanks for your help!

Jeanine Bartlett, BS, HT(ASCP)QIHC
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch
1600 Clifton Road, MS/G-32
Atlanta, GA  30333
(404) 639-3590

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