histotech mortality

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I would strongly suggest NOT collecting anecdotes to find out about possible 
chemical risks to histotechnologists. This approach will not yield meaningful 
results, and will contribute to needless anxiety, because you'll get 
selective reporting (cancer deaths will be reported, heart disease and stroke 
deaths often not reported) and statistically meaningless results.

I don't think you can do a worthwhile study without engaging an 
epidemiologist - somebody who knows a lot more about doing this kind of study 
than I do, anyway.

The simplest way avoid anecdotal bias that I can think of is to find an old 
listing of histotechnologists that includes names and either Social Security 
Numbers (SSN) or dates of birth. NSH membership rolls, or the histotechs in a 
large old laboratory, might provide such a base.

Then search the names through Social Security Death Index (SSDI, available on 
the Web) to find the ones who've died. Verify individuals with birth dates or 

Order each death certificate through the state authorities for the state (of 
the USA) they died in. (I didn't say this was going to be easy.)

When you get all the death certificates, get some expert help on what to do 

I think that a "prospective study" will probably be necessary to get any 
meaningful information. Identify a large base of histotechs and begin 
tracking them, obtaining each death certificate as they die off. (This is a 
LONG TERM project!)

A national (USA) study of the health histories of female nurses has been 
going on for about twenty years, and has become a real gold mine of 
epidemiologic information. I'd suggest that anybody interested in this 
problem find out more about this study - for one thing, it'll serve as a 
badly needed control group.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

PS: Very strong agreement with Don Schoonhoven that >>I have found that in 
the laboratories that have inadequately trained technicians the reasons can 
be placed at the pathologists' door.<< - For starters, why is the Samurai the 
only working pathologist who's active on Histonet?

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