I know that we are all worried about formalin, however I think that we
should all keep a sense of perspective here.
While some things are obviously dangerous there are many more insidious
dangers that we take for granted. Those of you that live in Houston will
of course be aware of the air quality here. I like Houston a lot but on
a still day it is sometimes a difficult choice between a short exposure
to chemical fumes and the outside air.
There are a tremendous number of dangers on the laboratory and I feel
strongly that we should treat all chemicals as potential hazards as many
of the newer chemicals have not been around long enough to determine
their long term effects.
It is not the fact that formalin, xylene, picric acid to name a few
examples are dangerous but the manner in which we use them and the
safety training of the personell involved.
The major problem is that many people either do not have sufficient
safety training or are sloppy around chemicals. I assume that this also
carries over into their personal life so I would also not be comfortable
eating food they have prepared.
As has been pointed out, formalin is used universally as the gold
standard and it will not be replaced overnight. Even if it were then how
can we evaluate sections that were prepared several years ago?
Let us be as safe as possible in use of these chemicals but let us also
keep this problem in perspective.
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