reference for CJD - sodium hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide solution slopped around in large quantities to combat prions?

Obviously we're in a situation where satisfying the demands of bureaucrats is 
more important than the safety of laboratory people - but strong solutions of 
sodium hydroxide, handled in large quantities in crowded laboratories by 
numerous people of varying degrees of consciousness - are a significantly 
hazardous material, particularly for eye injuries. (The same arguments apply 
to formic acid.)

Obviously prions are a laboratory hazard, but they're one we've lived with 
for a long time, and as far as I know there is still no known case of 
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease resulting from exposure to pathology specimens. I 
think it remains to be shown that we need any change in our methods. (For one 
thing, we'd have to return to open-bucket tissue processing, since a modern 
tissue processor cannot be cleared of prions.)

One thing I would caution against is doing an autopsy on a body with a prion 
disease - this undertaking clearly requires more containment than is possible 
in an ordinary autopsy facility. (Somehow bureaucrats have always managed to 
make the assumption that an autopsy could not be an infection hazard.)

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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