[Histonet] picric acid paranoia

Smith, Allen asmith <@t> mail.barry.edu
Tue Jun 4 07:52:26 CDT 2013

  Picric acid bound to collagen is not an explosion hazard.  Even if it were, the surrounding paraffin wax would cushion the picric acid to the point of making it shockproof.  Most of the picric acid in a fixative ends up in the hazmat bottle rather than in the tissue.  Thus even putting 50 or so blocks of tissue fixed in picric acid into a hot fire would create less blast than a hearing aid battery.
  Bulk picric acid, where there is no moderator between the crystals, is another story.
- Allen A. Smith, Ph.D.
  Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu [mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Tyrone Genade
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 2:30 PM
To: histonet
Subject: [Histonet] picric acid paranoia


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.


Tyrone Genade PhD
Department of Human Biology
University of Cape Town
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