Lab chemicals & xylene hazards

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>
From:"Anatech Ltd." <>
Date:Tue, 15 Jun 1999 09:56:56 -0400
Content-Type:text/enriched; charset="us-ascii"

Gary Gill asked for information on a book dealing with laboratory
chemicals.  We offer the only one (to my knowledge) that specifically
covers those used in our field.  We call it the Hazmat Manual, but the
official citation is:

J. Dapson and R. Dapson.  1995.  Hazardous Chemicals in the
Histopathology Laboratory:  Regulations, Risks, Handling and Disposa,
3rd edition.  255 pp.  Published by and available from Anatech Ltd,
Battle Creek, MI, Cat. # 051 ($75.00).  ISBN 0-9645197-0-4

A detailed (4 page) table of contents is available upon request.  

On another, related note, recent interest in xylene exposure prompts me
to add this information:

In 1987, NIOSH issued a Current Intelligence Bulletin detailing the
neurological effects from exposure to organic solvents.  Xylene and
toluene figured prominently in the study, as both are very common
chemicals used on a broad scale.  The more important symptoms include:

Impaired neurological functions (reaction time, manual dexterity,
coordination, body balance, learning ability, memory and peripheral
nerve function)


Mental fatigue

Physical fatigue




Personality changes

Mood swings

Diminished motivation

Some of the changes are permanent, others temporary (as Pearl Gervais
noted, you can detoxify by being away for a few days, but look out when
you return!).

How serious is this?  NIOSH is highly respected in the industrial
hydiene arena.  Many histotechnologists are exposed to xylene in ways
that industrial workers are not.  You not only breathe the fumes, but
(more significantly, perhaps) you have covert and overt skin exposure. 
There is no glove material used in our field that offers more than a
few seconds of protection.  It is not surprising that
histotechnologists complain of these symptoms at a level exceeding that
in non-exposed populations. 

We at Anatech Ltd. believe that the health effects of xylene and
toluene are so serious that we did something about it.  We used to sell
xylene.  Within a month of receiving that Bulletin, we ceased all sales
of the product.  Yes, we have a xylene substitute, but we were making
good money on xylene as well.

If you want to read firsthand about this, obtain a copy of the

Current intelligence Bulletin #48

NIOSH/Publications Dissemination, DSDTT

Robert A. Taft Laboratories

4676 Columbia Parkway

Cincinnati, OH 45226

Our Hazmat Manual offers several pages of information on xylene
(134-137, 218-219).  

If you believe that you may be suffering from xylene exposure, have
your urine collected at the end of your work shift (preferably near the
end of the work week), and assayed for methylhippuric acids.  The
average level from several tests taken on successive days should not
exceed 1.5 g per gram of creatinine.


Dick Dapson


1020 Harts Lake Road

Battle Creek, MI  49015

800-262-8324 or 616-964-6450

Fax 616-964-8084


<< Previous Message | Next Message >>