[Histonet] RE: Does xylene cause skin cancer?

Mayer,Toysha N TNMayer <@t> mdanderson.org
Thu Feb 23 07:56:33 CST 2012

We all have heard the reports that xylene causes cancer.  It is a carcinogen.  However only in cases where the user is extremely sensitive to xylene should you worry about a little bit getting on your skin every now and then. Don't bathe in it.   Do not make it a habit.  Wearing gloves (nitrile) and using other appropriate PPE should keep you safe.  I wear gloves when I coverslip, change the machines and recycle.  User safety is first, so check with the hospital to see what the safety department says.  
Change your gloves frequently when coverslipping.  
I have been a tech for 20 years and I am ok.  I take the usual precautions with PPE and teach the same to my students.

Toysha Mayer


Message: 2
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 13:48:11 -0500
From: Bob Richmond <rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com>
Subject: [Histonet] Re: Does xylene cause skin cancer?
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
	<CAOKsRH671eWfT40nTOkrsQ_ZuPKn2ewxnDzvqeftBR94gVNRsQ <@t> mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

I don't know of any evidence that xylene causes skin cancer. Concern
is with absorption through the skin. The most likely problem is with
the bone marrow - leukemia and related diseases - from aromatic
hydrocarbons (xylene, toluene, benzene) - which of course are present
in resinous mounting media even in "xylene free" laboratories.

Latex gloves dissolve rapidly. Nitrile rubber is more resistant,
though not very. I don't know about vinyl examination gloves.

I don't wear gloves in this situation, but obviously a pathologist
gets much less exposure than a histotechnologist does. I certainly
wouldn't argue with anyone who wanted to wear them.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN


More information about the Histonet mailing list