I just have to weigh in on behalf of Derek Papalegis. Although there are no major safety risks of handling paraffin embedded sections, prion diseases that are still transmittable after formalin fixation and processing being the exception, I think it is unfair to say that he, Derek, is in the wrong line of work. I can say this because I was Derek's first supervisor and trained him from scratch and I can say that he has done very well for himself in the past several years since entering the profession (he is already the supervisor of a lab with a little over 3 years experience). Please don't make assumptions about people posting their opinions or responding to a question, it is unfair. For the record I also agree with Derek that having your fingers caked in paraffin is not ideal and is a little gross and I have seen my fair share of "disgusting" samples working with both veterinary and human samples.
In addition I can also say that all technologists in my lab wear gloves while sectioning and I don't think it is a problem as long as they are educated about the reasons they are wearing PPE and are trained appropriately.
I invite Joe to flame me all he wants for my opinion since I started out in his Air Force lab a short 11 years ago and still have great respect for him and his experience.
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