[Histonet] Re: GI bx


In regard to alcohols:

Do people have really strong evidence that denatured alcohol behaves any differently from pure ethanol?

Absolute (100%) ethanol is a major security problem for the laboratory, since tax authorities (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms - Department of Justice - in the USA) want to make really sure that it isn't diverted for beverage use. Many hospitals just don't have the storage facilities.

In common use is what's generically called "reagent alcohol", with 90% ethanol, 5% methanol, and 5% isopropanol. This is denaturation formula "S3DA modified", the "modified" referring to the fact that isopropanol is also added to the methanol-denatured S3DA mix. - Another denaturant permitted in histology is methylisobutylketone (MIBK), which smells so bad that most labs don't want to use it. (Alcohol denatured with acetone is also available - unacceptable because it removes eosin instantly.)

This old pathologist hasn't seen any difference between pure ethanol and reagent alcohol. Is any of you sure that there is a difference?

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN and Gastonia NC

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