Re: block disposal and -heads

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From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>
To:Histonet <>
Content-Type:TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

On Sat, 1 Jul 2000, Becky Scholes wrote:

> Just as with slides, our local waste system considers paraffin blocks 
> biohazard waste.

  How do they justify this? When a person dies with a horrible
  infectious disease the body is put in a box and planted in the
  ground to be consumed by worms. A box (or plastic bag) of old
  paraffin blocks at a landfill site is buried at a similar or 
  greater depth. Each individual block is entombed in wax providing 
  yet another layer of "protection." Furthermore, the tissues
  were fixed and processed before they ever went into the wax,
  killing everything except possibly some prions. Objects in the
  landfill are even less likely to be eaten by people than corpses
  in the graveyard.

  It is even more crazy to consider slides hazardous, with every section 
  encapsulated in glass. Even the sarcophagous nematodes aren't going
  to be able to eat these, however hard they try.

  Who are the ignorant fools who get away with making such regulations?
  They must have their bosses, or some chain of command whereby they
  could be gently and politely influenced: to reverse their rulings or
  find themselves lining up in the labour exchange for jobs cleaning
  out public lavatories. ("This job has prospects, lad. If you work 
  hard for three years, we'll give you a brush.")  It should not be 
  necessary to spend public money on expensive disposal of harmless 
  materials that have been declared "biohazardous" by some public 
  servant who is either a half-wit or a director of a hazardous waste 
  collection company. At a local level it should be possible to
  overcome this problem by approaching senior municipal officials
  and politicians, and writing letters to local newspapers that name 
  those who made the silly rules and explain the unnecessary costs to 
  the taxpayers.

  Good luck, and happy campaigning.

 John A. Kiernan,
 Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
 The University of Western Ontario,
 LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1


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