RE: Why recycle formalin? (Long question!)

From:Bruce Gapinski

Great question! Great points! 
I worry about pollution when we keep buying new formalin. Where does the old
stuff go? Do you neutralize? Do you spend big bucks trying to burn it? What
happens to it then? You make a good point about the expense of recycling and
re buffering. Maybe the cost will come down. 
If I can be a little bit "hippie" here, maybe we should look at long term
effects of formalin use on the planet. Maybe the cost of fixation SHOULD
include recycling formalin. After all, C.A.P. asks "what do you do to reduce
your volume of hazardous waste. 
As for HER 2 neu, why wouldn't the recycled product work? With all due
respect to Dako (sorry Greg) they'd love for you to believe that the only
way to diagnose is to use their product. They are a fine company, who spent
the time and $ to get the FDA approval. They are also charging quite a bit
for THAT product, last I checked.
	Bruce (I am not a rep, I'm a hippie) Gapinski

		-----Original Message-----
		From: []
		Sent:	Thursday, January 24, 2002 10:33 AM
		Subject:	Why recycle formalin? (Long question!)

		I was interested in Vinnie Della Speranza's query of last
week about recycled formalin. His lab has a still on loan to try out for
recycling formalin.

		Why does a busy hospital histology laboratory want to
recycle formalin? Is it to save money, or avoid disposal problems?

		With the cost of ready-to-use formalin so cheap (Our
contract price through a hospital consortium is about $15 per 5 gallons/20
litres), you cannot be saving much money when you count the cost of the
still, electricity, assaying for concentration, buffering, checking the pH
and time involved. Is it all cost effective? And are employees exposed to
formaldehyde fumes?? Are there formaldehyde monitoring costs too?

		Further, when you consider that patients are paying
collectively hundreds of dollars to get their biopsies processed, it does
not seem unreasonable to go first class and purchase ready-to-use formalin.
The cost of chemicals to inactivate the formalin before disposal is
relatively cheap too.

		One of the benefits of passing time for hospital histology
labs are commercially prepared reagents like formalin, Schiff's and special
stains, and automated  stainers for H & E, special stains and IHC which give
standardised and consistant results. Preparing your own formalin for
fixation, using formaldehyde you have distilled,(and fixation is the most
important first step in most histology procedures) is surely getting away
from consistant results.

		Then there is the effect of recycled formalin on IHC
results, which Vinnie enquired about. My understanding is that if you use
the HER2 protein expression test as the basis for a diagnosis, you must
follow strict a FDA approved procedure, which includes formalin fixation.
That fixation may also be affected by recycled formalin.I wonder how it
affects other reactions?

		Comments anyone? Am I missing something here?

		(Curious) Mike Titford
		Pathology Department
		USA Medical Center
		Mobile AL 36617 USA

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