Re:Pregnancy, dioxane, formalin; LN2; RNA protocols

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From:Louise Burrell <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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Dear all:   Hi!  As far as pregnancy and formalin----I would be much moore
concerned about Xylenes---wear nitrile gloves and have a properly
fitted (by your health and safety dept) respirator. Back in cave man
days--the 70's---I grossed in tissues, as well as changed and worked with
a rotary tissue processor that used DIOXANE!!!!!!! as it's clearing agent.
I made up formalin from scratch, coverslipped all histology and cytology
slides, etc. etc. etc----with NO PROTECTION!!!!!!  We did not know.  I was
pregnant---and other than some of the chemical smells nauseating
me---none of the pathologists seemed worried about me or my baby.  My son
weighed almost ten lbs with  apgars  of 9 & 9.  He just turned 23 yrs.
old, is married (1 year) and (just found out) his wife is pregnant.   The
really good news is that all those nasty things did not hurt him
neurologically---John Alexander Flynn is graduating from Baylor LAW school
on Feb 6, 1999!! So,  other than this being an update to my many histology
friends whom I may not have been in contact with recently--I am
Also, in every situation---assume the worst in histology (use Universal
Precautions) and protect yourselves for your children and grandchildren's
sake!!    Better safe than sorry always!!!

LN2 disposal/evaporation/ and decontamiation!!!
I go to the Neuro ORs on a regular basis to pick up brain
specimens--tumors in a dewar's with LN2.  I have tried to request surgeons
to place tissue in a 4mil. thick ziploc plastic baggie---then plop into
LN2----however, they don't want to.  It would help in many ways---but,
instead I clean with 20-50% clorox (sodium hypochlorite) after I have to
fish out all the tiny particles---let's not forget about JCD--whoops--CJD
today!!!!!!! A very nasty dementing disease proven to afflict Histotechs
in the past---victims usually do not survive for more than 2-5 yrs. after
exposure!!  BE CAREFUL!! I usually let LN2 evaporate under the hood
first.  Remember,
in order to activate sodium hypochlorite--you need to add very hot H2O.  I
usually let dewar's sit in that mixture for awhile and then rinse well
with more hot, hot H2O and then turn upside downon a pipette tip box lid
to drain well---then replace in my  -80* freezer for the next case.

If I may be of any more assistance- please write.

Michelle Down ---I am having trouble faxing to you---It will be
accomplished as soon as my fax cooperates---Thanx and HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO

Mary Vaughan---where are you?  Miss our chats.

See y'all next year--byeeee
With warmest wishes and finally off my soapbox-I remain

Louise  "Beezie"   Burrell
Washington University School of Medicine
Cancer Center Tumor Repository Core Laboratory Facility
St. Louis, MO.  63110

(314) 454-7615

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