[Histonet] Re: bunsen burner at the embedding center

Pam Marcum mucram11 <@t> comcast.net
Fri Sep 20 09:50:24 CDT 2013

I actually knew the person you are speaking of and it was his favorite trick.  We should be careful these younger people are using gloves for everything now to protect themselves.  W hen I started in Histology even the pathologists cleaned the paraffin off their hands with xylene and encouraged everyone to do the same .  We used so many things that are now not even allowed to be open on this planet and did know how dangerous or serious the possible issues could be over time.  

Pam Marcum 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Richmond" <rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com> 
To: "Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu" <histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu> 
Sent: Friday, September 20, 2013 9:35:55 AM 
Subject: [Histonet] Re: bunsen burner at the embedding center 

I distinctly remember when I was a resident at Johns Hopkins in the late 
1960s that the histotechs would smoke while staining and coverslipping 
without much ventilation. When I suggested to the chief technologist (who 
later died of smoking related disease at 65, but at least he hadn't set 
himself afire) that this wasn't such a good idea, he responded by stubbing 
out a lighted cigarette in a Stender dish full of xylene (apparently you 
can do this trick with gasoline also, but don't try it at home please). 

Buffering formalin was prohibited back then, and they removed the formalin 
pigment by passing the sections through a concentrated solution (20 or 30%) 
of picric acid in acetone. I'm glad he didn't try the cigarette trick in 
THAT Stender dish. 

Fast-forward nearly half a century, and in the three labs I'm working in 
I'm still grossing formalin-fixed tissue with minimal ventilation, but at 
least people aren't allowed to smoke in the lab any more. 

Bob Richmond 
Samurai Pathologist 
Maryville TN 
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