[Histonet] hood for manual special stains

Kemlo Rogerson Kemlo.Rogerson <@t> waht.swest.nhs.uk
Thu Jun 25 02:30:34 CDT 2009

" SKIN: Repeated contact can produce dermatitis (dryness and cracking)
due to degreasing action. 

SKIN SENSITIZATION: Skin sensitization was not produced in any of 24
volunteers. There is one case report of a person developing an allergic
skin reaction (contact urticaria) following exposure to xylene
(unspecified composition) vapour. The person subsequently tested
positive in a patch test. No information was provided regarding previous
history of allergies. No conclusions can be drawn regarding the
potential for xylene to produce allergic skin reactions, based on this
single case report. 

NERVOUS SYSTEM EFFECTS: Long-term xylene exposure may cause harmful
effects on the nervous system, but there is not enough information
available to draw firm conclusions. Symptoms such as headaches,
irritability, depression, insomnia, agitation, extreme tiredness,
tremors, and impaired concentration and short-term memory have been
reported following long-term occupational exposure to xylene and other
solvents. This condition is sometimes generally referred to as "organic
solvent syndrome". Unfortunately, there is very little information
available which isolates xylene from other solvent exposures in the
examination of these effects. Other study deficiencies include
inadequate reporting on the duration of exposure and the exposure
levels, and poor matching of controls. 

In a recent study, 175 employees were exposed to an average xylene
concentration of 21 ppm for an average of 7 years. Subjective symptoms
such as anxiety, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate and dizziness
were reported. Xylenes accounted for greater than 70% of the total
exposure.) This study is also limited by factors such those described

BLOOD EFFECTS: Historical reports sometimes associate xylene exposure
with certain blood effects, including leukemia, which are now known to
be caused by benzene. Uncontaminated xylene is not known to cause these
effects. Reduced blood platelet counts were observed in 12 of 27 men
exposed to xylene (unspecified composition) at a level up to 200 ppm.
When exposure stopped, platelet counts returned to normal. There is
insufficient information to draw any conclusions from this study. 

LIVER AND KIDNEY EFFECTS: A number of case reports and occupational
studies have suggested that liver and kidney damage may result from
long-term occupational exposure to xylene. However, it is not possible
to attribute these effects directly to xylene exposure because generally
there was exposure to other chemicals at the same time, particularly
other solvents, and there was no information provided on the exposure
levels or duration of exposure. 

In a recent study, 175 employees were exposed to a mean xylene
concentration of 21 ppm for an average of 7 years. Liver and kidney
effects were not reported. Xylenes accounted for greater than 70% of the
total exposure. "

>From Web Site. In the UK we have to limit exposure to both formalin and
xylene. Most modern Labs have downdraught dissection tables and benches
have back ventilation. Neither of these chemicals ought to be tolerated
if you can smell them and exposure ought to be controlled. 


Kemlo Rogerson	
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-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Mark
Sent: 24 June 2009 23:34
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] hood for manual special stains

The hospital where I work just opened a new lab. The histology
department is now combined with cytology and is made up of me, a second
histotech, a cytology prep tech, and our cytotech supervisor. We didn't
have a hood in the old lab, so we did our manual special stains on a
workbench with weak, overhanging vents that looked like lamps. The one
hood in our new department completely belongs to the cytology prep tech.
She has her centrifuge and a lot of other equipment in it, and my
supervisor does not want me or the other histotech to share it. Some of
our workbenches have small vents built into the walls, but when I do my
specials there, I still smell chemicals. Do most histotechs today use
hoods to do manual special stains or am I being too wishful?
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