[Histonet] picric acid paranoia

Morken, Timothy Timothy.Morken <@t> ucsfmedctr.org
Mon Jun 3 14:10:14 CDT 2013

I agree with Bryan, the only dangerous form is anhydrous powder. 

I'm thinking they might be more interested in having you declare these blocks are not infectious...

Tim Morken
Supervisor, Electron Microscopy/Neuromuscular Special Studies
Department of Pathology
UC San Francisco Medical Center

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Bryan Llewellyn
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 12:05 PM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: Re: [Histonet] picric acid paranoia

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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