Re: Paraffin Blocks-Questions

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From:"Tim Morken" <> (by way of histonet)
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In general paraffin blocks are considered to be safe to handle without
gloves. The only exception I can think of is suspected CJD blocks, which are
handled as if infectious.

Frozen tissue is considered infectious.

We receive and ship blocks in plastic bags in mailing tubes and don't put
any warnings on the label.

Wet tissue needs to be sent in a fixative or transport buffer. Fixed tissue
doesn't need any warnings but tissue in transport buffer is considered fresh
and should be sent in containers designed to contain infetious material.
Both need to be sent in absolutely leak-proof containers.

Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
Infectious Disease Pathology
Centers for Disease Control
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333


Phone: (404) 639-3964
FAX:  (404)639-3043

----Original Message Follows----
From: "Cathy De Viney" <>
To: "Histonet" <>
Subject: Paraffin Blocks-Questions
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 20:18:22 -0600

I am not a histo tech, I am the safety officer at our lab, and have a
few questions I hope you can help with.

When you send your paraffin blocks to other labs, do you just place
them into a ziploc bag and then into the mailing folder (UPS, FED-EX,
USPS, etc.)?  Or do you handle/package them in some special manner?
Do you mark the shipping container as a biohazard?  If so, is there
any problem with shippers accepting these items?

I posed the question a few days ago about disposal of paraffin blocks.
All but one lab disposed of them as biohazards.  Are they to be
treated as biohazards whenever they are handled (i.e. should the histo
techs wear gloves when they are handling the blocks)?  Or is their
disposal as a biohazard merely a precaution to keep them from:
{a} turning up in the wrong place (i.e. children getting them from a
{b} public relation/perception problem re: medical waste?

Thank you in advance for any help you might be able to provide.


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