RE: Bleach + formalin

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From:Joyce Kotzuk <>
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We have weekly brain cutting in our Neuropathology lab, where the brains are brought to us from the autopsy service in 20% formalin. We rinse them overnight in water, and then they are cut the following day.  Is it a bad idea to clean up after brain cutting with 10-20% bleach? We use it to clean the trays, instruments, and countertops that have had the formalin fixed tissue all over them (sometimes the tissue is not completely fixed inside and is a bit bloody, thus the use of bleach).  We also use it to clean out the containers we store the brains in, after they have been disposed of.  We don't ever actually mix formalin and bleach, but are we exposing ourselves to something that could have long term hazardous health effects? Should we switch to using another type of decontamination solution?
Joyce Kotzuk
UNM Neuropathology lab

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