RE: About separating specimens and formalin...

From:"George, Cheryl" <>

Currently, we separate the tissue from the formalin using a big funnel with
a screen.  Then we have the formalin hauled by a contractor as hazardous
waste and the tissue is burned in our hospital incinerator.  We are in New
Hampshire and just food for thought... The State DES has issued a ruling
that if the tissue has absorbed more than 100 ppm of formalin, it must be
treated as a hazardous waste instead of medical/biological waste.  This
makes a HUGE difference as to how it can be disposed of and the relating
costs (for our lab, it will cost about $7000/year as medical waste vs
$68,000/year as hazardous waste!).  

We are looking for a lab that will quantitatively evaluate a bulk sample of
tissue as to the formalin content but have had no luck in finding one. It is
my understanding (from contractors) that there is only one place in the
country (Texas) that will take the tissue and formalin combined for

Does anyone know of a lab that can do a quantitative analysis of tissue for
formalin content?

Good luck!!

Cheryl George, BS, HT (ASCP)
Anatomic Pathology Supervisor
Elliot Hospital Laboratory
Manchester, NH

> ----------
> From:[]
> Sent: 	Monday, March 26, 2001 5:49 PM
> To:
> Subject: 	About separating specimens and formalin...
> Our hospital is about to stop using an incinerator to burn all its waste,
> and 
> instead create different waste streams. Most biohardous waste will be 
> sterilized, some of that will be shredded, then eveything sent to a
> landfill.
> Surgical pathology specimens however, will be incinerated by an outside 
> contractor. Trouble is, the contractor does not want the formalin, just
> the 
> specimens! Has anyone else run into this? Are there histotechs around the 
> country (or the world) emptying formalin out all those little containers,
> and 
> some large ones, that we all receive surgical pathology specimens in? How
> do 
> others separate the specimens and the formalin?

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