Re: xylene substitutes revisited
Proper personal protective equipment
(aka decent frequently changed nitrile gloves) should prevent you from absorbing
it into your skin. A decent fume hood will keep you from inhaling it. Don't
splash it around while transporting it and be as neat as possible while using
it. I see no room for ANY exposure. If you respect the chemical and it's hazards
then you will innevitably take proper preventative measures. I agree the hazards are nasty, but they are manageable if you are
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2002 11:42
Subject: RE: xylene substitutes
- Acute (short-term) inhalation
exposure to mixed xylenes in humans results in irritation of the nose and
throat, gastrointestinal effects such as nausea, vomiting, and gastric
irritation, mild transient eye irritation, and neurological effects.
- Chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure of humans to mixed xylenes
results primarily in central nervous system (CNS) effects, such as
headache, dizziness, fatigue, tremors and incoordination. Other effects
noted include labored breathing and impaired pulmonary function, increased
heart palpitation, severe chest pain and an abnormal EKG, and possible
effects on the blood and kidney.
- The Reference Concentration (RfC) for mixed xylenes, m-,
o-, and p-xylenes is under review by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- The Reference Dose (RfD) for mixed xylenes is 2 mg/kg/d.a The
provisional RfD for m- and o-xylenes is also 2 mg/kg/d.
EPA estimates that consumption of this dose or less, over a lifetime, would
not likely result in the occurrence of chronic noncancer
- Insufficient data are available on the developmental or reproductive
effects of mixed xylenes in humans. Animal studies have reported
developmental effects, such as an increased incidence of skeletal
variations in fetuses, and fetal resorptions via inhalation.
- No information is available on the carcinogenic effects of mixed xylenes
in humans, and animal studies have reported negative results from exposure
via gavage (experimentally placing the chemical in the stomach). EPA has
classified mixed xylenes as a Group D, not classifiable as to human
THIS is why some of us don't want
xylenes in our labs. If you've ever felt dizzy while coverslipping(and
don't have the $$ for an automatic coverslipper) or have gone home with
headache after headache... Personally, I have no desire to even come
CLOSE to chronic exposure limits, especially when there are multiple
once again stepping down from
Well, I worked for many years in a lab
that used Histo-clear (citrus-based) exclusively and we had no problems with
anything, including immunos. So I can't help you in "heading them off at the
On the other hand, I can't see using
xylene as a bad thing as long as proper safety precautions are taken. One
good one is to use an automated coverslipper so that xylene exposure to skin
is greatly limited. Since the critical exposure levels to xylene vapors are
quite high, that is not usually a problem. Is there some reason xylene is
being phased out?
Of course finding a xylene substitute
that is acceptable to everyone in the lab is very tough. It seems there is a
problem with all of them in some way, either some can't stand the odor of
one or another, or there are sensitivity issues that rival xylene. Good
Good morning everyone. Our safety committee is all set to switch us
to a xylene substitute. In order to head them off at the pass, I'd like
any info you kind people can provide concerning the impact xylene sub's
would have on IPX as well as on routine tissue preparation; processing,
staining, special stains, well you know, the whole nine yards!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this email....
Noreen Gilman, B.S., H.T.(ASCP) CLS
Broward General Medical Center
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
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