RE: [Histonet] B5 fixative

From:"Smith, Allen"

B5, Schaudinn's, SUSA, Helly's, and Zenker's fixatives contain mercury (II) ions, which are VERY poisonous.  Sewage bacteria convert mercury (II) to methyl mercury, which is very, very poisonous. (For a shocking example of mercury toxicity, see the photo essay MINAMATA by W. Eugene Smith.)  When these fixatives are used, the fixative and the first washing must be given to a waste disposal company that can recycle it.
B5 substitutes substitute a less poisonous ion, usually zinc (II), for mercury. These substitutes contain other things that are more poisonous than zinc.  I store them as if they were purely the most poisonous component and give them to a waste disposal company twice a year.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Bryan Watson
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 10:04 AM
To: Piero Nelva;
Subject: Re: [Histonet] B5 fixative

For all of the listed B5 substitutes mentioned, how are they disposed of and are they significantly safer?

>>> "Piero Nelva"  10/17/2008 17:59 >>>
I agree.  The Occ Health and SAfety representative is your best bet to
consign the B5 to history.

Piero Nelva
Anatomical pathology
Monash Medical Centre

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Cartun" 
To: ; "Bryan Watson"

Sent: Saturday, October 18, 2008 12:46 AM
Subject: Re: [Histonet] B5 fixative

If you are having a hard time with a pathologist regarding the use of B5,
get your safety people involved.  They will take care of it.  We stopped
using B5 a very long time ago.  We use formalin for all our lymph nodes and
bone marrows.  No one should be using B5 and manufacturers should stop
making it.


Richard W. Cartun, Ph.D.
Director, Histology & Immunopathology
Assistant Director, Anatomic Pathology
Hartford Hospital
80 Seymour Street
Hartford, CT  06102
(860) 545-1596
(860) 545-0174 Fax

>>> "Bryan Watson"  10/17/08 9:21 AM >>>
How many still use B5 fixative? And for those who do not, what do you use as
a replacement? One of our pathologists is insistent on using B5, and we'd
rather try to get away from it.
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