Mike Titford asks "Why recycle formalin?"
First are 2 Green reasons.
Green # 1 - Money
You absolutely save money. You reduce your purchase of new formalin. You
reduce disposal cost(huge). Ask your department that pays for this. You have
less hazardous waste out of your department. A general risk reduction which
in turn is a cost reduction. And the purchase of chemicals to repeatedly
inactivate formalin is much greater than just having some spill kits around.
Green # 2 - Environment
Formalin designated for recycling is less apt to end up down the drain.
Environmental friendliness is of varied value due to personal opinion. My
own is a high value.
We have recycled formalin for over 10 years with a B/R Scientific Pureform
2000. The machine has paid for itself many times over.
The formalin exposure issue is basically a wash. Trained staff, in proper
gear(gloves, goggles, etc.)should use formalin in properly ventilated areas.
This should happen when you recycle formalin and dump or fix tissue.
Formalin monitoring is a compliance cost. It is a requirement of CAP and/or
other regulatory agencies. We collect formalin at our dumping station and
off our processors. The recycling is easily done. An Anatech assay kit and
buffer salts inexpensively finish the job.
Patients go 1st class with recycled formalin. New and recycled formalin are
used here interchangeably with no fixation inconsistency. We run
approximately 70 antibodies including HER2. Following the FDA procedure for
HER2 is the same with new or recycled formalin.
There is much greater up-side to recycling formalin than down-side.
Thomas Jasper HT(ASCP) BAS
Histology Team Leader
SMDC Clinical Laboratory
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