[Histonet] fixatives

Phil McArdle PMcArdle <@t> ebsciences.com
Fri Aug 31 06:29:42 CDT 2007

Dear Colin:

I am with a lab microwave vendor; please don't dismiss this e-mail as 
you read the first couple of paragraphs that amount to a "disclaimer:"

We at EBS, a pioneer in the development of laboratory microwaves, 
discourage the use of formalin in the microwave (see page 16 in our 
"Microwave Companion" booklet, 
http://www.ebsciences.com/pdf/EBS_MW_COMPANION.pdf). Formalin is 
insidious due to its desensitizing action, and inherently hazardous in 
that 100ppm is immediately dangerous to life and health. One whiff of 
fumes from a tray of warm formalin can fell, if not kill, a person. This 
is why EBS actively promotes safe and effective alternatives to formalin 
such as glyoxal-based fixatives.

That said, we also recognize the many compelling reasons many 
laboratories will continue to use formalin as long as possible, for 
example, the only FDA-approved HER2/neu test requires formalin fixation. 
So as a concession to these realities, we can make the following 
recommendations (however, this is not to be taken as endorsement of 
microwaving formalin in any form - ought to make our lawyers happy!):

Depending upon the microwave processor in question, provided it is 
externally vented, many non-standard formalin mixtures can be safe and 
effective, given reasonable precautions, care, and common sense. 
Equipment contacting mixtures containing metals such as zinc (e.g., zinc 
formalin) should be kept clean after each run, in order to prevent 
arcing (sparking). Acidic or basic mixtures should immediately be 
cleaned from microwave surfaces. You mention Bouin's - naturally, you 
want to avoid crystallization of Bouins since solid picric acid is an 
explosive, but microwaving aqueous solutions per se should be OK (though 
flammable mixtures should be treated with some care).

If you wanted to provide me a "laundry list" of precise formulations and 
protocols, I should be able to evaluate these for you.

Best regards,

Phil McArdle

Phil McArdle
Microwave Product Manager

Energy Beam Sciences, Inc.
29-B Kripes Rd.
East Granby, CT 06026

Tel:  800.992.9037 x 341
Mobile: 860.597.6796
Fax: 860.653.0422

pmcardle <@t> ebsciences.com

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- Mahatma Gandhi

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Weaver, Colin wrote:
> Hi everyone - can anyone tell me if you can use fixatives such as
> Bouins, Zenkers or any other non standard formalin fixatives in a
> microwave processer.
> Colin 
> Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA)
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