[Histonet] picric acid paranoia

Bryan Llewellyn llewllew <@t> shaw.ca
Mon Jun 3 14:04:56 CDT 2013

I don't know what the US regulations for importing paraffin blocks are, 
but Bouin fixed and paraffin processed tissues are perfectly safe. It is 
picric acid and its simple salts which are dangerous when dried. Since 
your tissues went through alcohol during processing, any free picric 
acid will have been removed and only that attached to the proteins 
remains. In fact, the paraffin wax itself is likely more of a hazard 
since it is inflammable. I suspect they could be safely shipped by mail, 
with appropriate declarations.

Bryan Llewellyn

Tyrone Genade wrote:
> Hello,
> I am moving to the USA from sunny South Africa. I would like to bring my
> wax blocks with me but the fish inside them were fixed with Bouin's fluid.
> I'm worried the picric acid could draw the wrong sort of attention. Courier
> companies and US Customs (which never got back to me) haven't been able to
> give me an answer if they are safe to travel. The blocks have sat under my
> lab bench for 4 years without blowing up so I guess they are perfectly
> safe. Anyone have an opinion on the issues or some advice on an expert (at
> US customs?) to contact? I would probably ship them by surface post as it
> just more cost effective.
> Thanks
> Tyrone Genade PhD
> Department of Human Biology
> University of Cape Town
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