Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chemical safety in laboratories: Tissue preservation

Chemical safety is important for
laboratories and research facilities.When it comes to laboratories and chemical safety, companies, managers and workers have to be extra vigilant to avoid health and safety problems.

Histology and pathology technicians are exposed to numerous laboratory hazards during the course of a day.

That is why laboratory safety is imperative; technicians must know and adhere to health and safety procedures that often include:
Emergency proceduresDisease reportingWork safety instructions for equipment and work stationsExisting hazards and the controls in place to address themWorkers' rights under occupational health and safety guidelinesLaboratory safety and protective equipment needed to perform work safely
What do histology laboratories do?

Histology is the backbone of medicine; it involves the study of tissue. Histological stains are used to magnify microscopic structures to better study the tissue of animals and plants.

Fixation, dehydration, sectioning and staining are all part of a histology technician's tissue processing procedure, and it involves contact with highly toxic chemicals.

Chemicals used for fixation

Fixation is about tissue preservation. To maintain cell structure, chemicals like formalin (formaldehyde) are used for light microscopy. For electron microscopy, technicians need chemicals like glutaraldehyde, osmium tetroxide and uranyl acetate to make small structures visible.

Exposure to formaldehyde can cause irritation to the nose, throat and eyes, and it can also lead to coughing, nausea, wheezing. Studies have linked formaldehyde to cancer, including leukemia in humans.

Glutaraldehyde inhalation can cause coughing, choking, shortness of breath, nausea and headache. Exposure to this chemical has been linked to lung and respiratory tract damage as well as asthma.

Osmium tetroxide
This chemical is toxic and emits fumes even in its solid form. Exposure can lead to headache, wheezing, pulmonary edema and in extreme cases, death. Long-term low level exposure can cause insomnia larynx and pharynx damage. The chemical has also been linked to kidney damage.

Uranyl acetate
Inhaling this chemical can cause headaches, irritation of the upper respiratory tract and mucous membranes as well as kidney and liver damage. This chemical has also been classified as a carcinogen.

Air cleaners with activated carbon remove dangerous chemicals

Electrocorp specializes in customized air quality solutions and versatile units that effectively remove a wide range of serious contaminants to maintain safe, healthy and comfortable working environments that support scientific investigation.

Electrocorp's air filtration systems for laboratories include the RSU Series, the RAP Series, the I-6500 and the 6000 Series. Some units can be attached to the fume hood for extra protection against airborne chemicals.

Contact us to find the right indoor air quality solution for your laboratory or healthcare environment.

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