[Histonet] Black artifact on slides

Bauer, Karen Bauer.Karen <@t> mayo.edu
Tue Jun 17 11:56:23 CDT 2008

Has anyone encountered black, clumpy "stuff" on slides from using a slide etcher?  It could be compared to graphite particles from writing on the slides with pencil, but we do not use pencil anywhere.  I'm thinking it could be the dust from the etcher and I'm wondering if anyone else has dealt with this.
The pathologists are seeing these particles on our IP slides and Surgical H&E's.  Since they are stained by two separate stainers, the only things in common are the washes in tap water and the slides we use.  We tried washing only in Distilled water, but the docs said that the "stuff" was still there, probably even a little worse.  It's got to be the debris from the etching.
I'm planning on doing some trial runs with fresh, clean water in the water bath and with un-etched slides to see if there's a difference.  (We empty and wipe out the waterbaths every day, but if we've placed any tissue on an etched slide, I'm sure that powder is floating or mixed in with the water.)  The etched slides do not seem powdery or dirty, but they could be microscopically.
Any comments or ideas?  
Thanks in advance,
Karen L. Bauer HT(ASCP)
Department of Pathology
Histology Supervisor
Luther Hospital
Eau Claire, WI
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