Re: [Histonet] Alcohol lamps

From:"Gayle Callis"

We don't use open flames i.e. alcohol burners anymore, due to fire hazard 
(one could tip it over, spill alcohol and burn!).  The forcep tips, if held 
too long in the flame, can also burn the tissue.

We use heated embedding center wells but  purchase longer forceps i.e. 
ergonomically acceptable  You can buy forceps with L,hockey stick (packing 
forceps) shape to them, or buy straight with both wider and narrower, but 
NOT sharp pointed ends.   We keep more one forceps to choose from in our 
wells, users can chose their favorites out this selection .

We like longer, slender forceps for following reasons:
    1.  do not burn fingers during embedding
    2.  manipulate small tissues easily

Try Arista  Surgical Supply ( ,  EMS, and Henry Schein 
(dentristy forceps, packing style) - none of these companies will break the 
bank and Arista has a HUGE selection of all types of forceps.

As for paraffin on forceps, after embedding, lay them in cassette holding 
area on paper towel to soak up melted paraffin.  Wipe them off while hot, 
return to wells when needed.  In our lab, we have as many as 10 or more 
different people embedding their samples and THEY learn to do this very 
quickly.  No moe complaining about paraffin all over the forceps this way. 
One can also try the metal mold holding area - where temp may be hot enought 
to melt the paraffin.   We put forceps through cleaning cycle on processor 
and on occasion, a good paraffin removing solvent soak, rinsed off with 
alcohol or even a superhot water wash.

If you have your favorite forceps, then others must have favorites too?  Why 
not supply each person with their favorite too - then you are a hero instead 
of a "fussy old goat"?

Gayle M. Callis

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peterson, Dan" <>
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 10:21 AM
Subject: [Histonet] Alcohol lamps

Fellow Histonetters,
I am in disagreement with our lab's Safety officer with regards to
alcohol lamps. We use them in our embedding area to keep our forceps
The officer says that they're a fire hazard (even though we've used them
without incident for over 30 yrs). There are no flammable reagents
(other than the alcohol in the lamp) near the embedding area. I know we
could use the warming wells on the embedders, but try to find more that
1 pair of forceps that you like, or better yet, try to find a forceps
that the tech before hasn't left paraffin all over it. (Yes, I am a
fussy old goat, 27 yrs of Histo, with my 1 favorite pair that NOBODY
Petty issue? Are there others out there using lamps? I am willing to
change if necessary (or so ordered), but would like to hear from those
who do the work, not be told what to do by those who know nothing of the
work. Thanks in advance!!

Daniel R Peterson HT(ASCP)
Histopathology Section Head
Meriter Laboratories

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