RE: Bleach + formalin

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From:"Smith, Allen" <>
To:'Joyce Kotzuk' <>
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I would think that the overnight washing in water would eliminate most of
the formalin.  I would clean up any surface contacted by human tissue with
bleach: formalin doesn't kill CJD or TB.  Since both the first day's
formalin and the chlorine released from the second day's bleach are toxic
irritants, you must have good ventilation.  If your ventilation is
sufficient to keep the formalin and the chlorine from irritating you, any
traces of phosgene produced would be below the 100 parts per billion
threshold.  If your ventilation lets the formalin irritate you, speak up!
Formalin releases formaldehyde fumes which are slightly carcinogenic.
		Allen A. Smith
		School of Graduate Medical Sciences,
		  Podiatric Medicine & Surgery
		Barry University

-----Original Message-----
From: Joyce Kotzuk []
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2000 1:54 PM
Subject: RE: Bleach + formalin

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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