Re: Formaldehyde nomenclature (was Help with a fixative)


Formaldehyde is a gas - Full strength formalin, is a liquid - 37-40% formaldehyde in water.
10% Formalin (made from full strength formalin) used for routine fixation is 3.7-4% formaldehyde.
Why is that so hard?  

Laurie Reilly <>

01/07/2003 10:13 PM

        Subject:        Formaldehyde nomenclature (was Help with a fixative)

Dear Histonetters,
The confusion surrounding the use of the words "formalin" and
"formaldehyde" is obvious from Charles' question and Katri's answer.
The undergraduate and graduate students at this University have just as
much trouble and I find myself frequently having to reach for pencil and
paper to give an explanation, which is hopefully, but not always, understood.

May I suggest a radical solution to the problem?
We could take the word "formalin" out of the English language.

Then the concentrate would remain as 40%Formaldehyde solution and the
fixative we commonly use would be 4% Neutral Buffered Formaldehyde. I am
now labelling containers with 4% Buffered Formaldehyde and 10% formalin
because that terminology is so ingrained. How many generations do you think
it might take to change the mindset away from "formalin"?

Regards,   Laurie.

Mr.Laurie Reilly                                              Ph 07 4781 4468
Physiology & Pharmacology                           Fax  07 4779  1526
Aust.Inst.of Tropical Vet.& Animal Sc.
James Cook University
Townsville  Qld.


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