Formaldehyde bomb

Jerome Freed jjfreed at
Fri Aug 1 15:01:55 EST 1997

Drr. E. Buxbaum wrote:

> The simplest way is probably to buy paraformaldehyde (a white solid) and 
> sprinkle some on a hot plate. This will develope formaldehyde gas. Remember 
> however that formaldehyd is rather nasty, and should not be breathed. 

Ouch!  Better sprinkle on a *cold* electric frying pan then turn on from

Dr. W.H. Colledge wanted to decontaminate a tissue culture room. 
Actually, I would advise against formaldehyde vapors for the following
reasons:  The room would have to be effectively sealed to prevent spread
and loss of vapors.  It would then have to be effectively ventilated. 
To where? Who would be affected by the annoying, nay, carcinogenic

Preferable old-fashioned methods: [1] Wash evrything down with soap and
water, adding chlorine bleach to 1:10 dilution.  Use adequate
ventilation.  [2] Paint all inside surfaces with an oilbased paint and
let dry.  Looks nice and gives a sterile surface.

Of course, best solution is a laminar flow HEPA-filtered work station. 
These can be decontaminated by the frying-pan cum paraformaldehyde
method.  See your manufacturer or dealer for the procedure: i.e, amounts
of chemical, temperature, time.

What is the source of ventilation in the tissue culture room?  Could be
an air-duct problem?

Good luck!

Jerry Freed

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