formaldehyde and cigarettes

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Russ Allison at Caerdydd notes:

>>Charlie Culling smoked like a chimney. He died of lung cancer (he told me
personally, as I'm sure he told others) and it was smoking induced.<<

If formaldehyde were a carcinogen (or other health hazard) only for smokers,
we'd still have a formidable problem. Remember that asbestos works like that
- almost all asbestos-related cancers occur in smokers.

Times have probably changed, but when I was a resident 30 years ago a very
large proportion of histotechnologists were heavy smokers. I distinctly
remember histotechnologists smoking as they stained in open Stender dishes
without ventilation, in front of not only xylene and alcohol, but the 20%
solution of picric acid in acetone that was put in the sequence to remove the
formalin pigment because the chief technologist didn't permit any buffering
of the formalin.

Fortunately, nobody ever caught fire!

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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