Re: Hazards of formaldehyde

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Everybody on this list who has any contact with formaldehyde should read Dick 
Dapson's very recent post on the hazards of formaldehyde.

The Dapsons at ANATECH quite literally "wrote the book" on the actual hazards 
and regulatory problems of chemicals used in the histology workplace. This 
book should be in every histology laboratory and pathologist's office. That's 
Dapson & Dapson, 1995, Hazardous materials in the histopathogy laboratory, 
3rd edition, available from Anatech Ltd.

I'm sorry if my extreme cynicism and pessimism about formaldehyde has come 
across as indifference. As most of you know, I practice surgical pathology in 
numerous small pathology laboratories. In most of them ventilation is 
entirely unsatisfactory, specimen containers are flimsy and badly stored, and 
only the lowest quality latex gloves are available. The various regulatory 
agencies turn a blind eye to all of this. I've gotten to the age of 60 
without getting sensitized, thanks to plain luck - my father, also a 
pathologist, was unable to be in the same room with formaldehyde by the time 
he was my age.

I think it is probably still uncertain that formaldehyde is a human 
carcinogen, but there's no doubt about sensitization. Careless handling of 
formaldehyde carelessly endangers your career in pathology or histology.

I'm sorry if my inability to control this problem in my own workplaces has 
led anyone to think I'm unconcerned about theirs.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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