Alternatives to Formalin/Formaldehyde?

J. A. Kiernan jkiernan at
Mon Mar 27 09:46:01 EST 1995

In article <3kvftn$q7i at> shark at (John D. Valentich) writes:
>From: shark at (John D. Valentich)
>Subject: Re: Alternatives to Formalin/Formaldehyde?
>Date: 24 Mar 1995 22:08:55 GMT

>In article <3kt2uj$h69 at>,
>   Mark Weatherhead <weather at> wrote:
>>   Recently several of my co-workers and I have become concerned
>>over the large amounts of formalin preserved samples that we have
>>to deal with in an average working week.  As most of you know,
>>Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen/mutagen/teratogen and also causes
>>lung and skin problems.  While we take precautions in the lab and
>>handle the samples carefully, it would be preferrable to not have to
>>use this substance at all.

>You might consider Histochoice produced by Amersco (sp?)

In general the use of proprietary secret mixtures is not acceptable
behaviour for scientists.  If any kind of staining or histochemical
study of the specimens is intended, knowledge of the chemical nature
of the fixative is a must.  Aside from some people who are unduly
susceptible to formalin (causes eczema), have you ever heard of anyone
being harmed in any way by this compound?

                                     John A. Kiernan
                                     Department of Anatomy
                                     Univ. of Western Ontario
                                     LONDON, Canada  N6A 5C1
                                     e-mail: jkiernan at

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