Tanis Marquette provided the solution for us. Thanks, Tanis!
Office of Safety, Health and Environment
National Institute of Standards and Technology
325 Broadway, MC173.02
Boulder, CO 80305
Well – sort of! Every embalmer has their own “secret sauce” (not my phrase!) to embalm cadavers and it’s usually a combination of 37.7% formaldehyde, low boiling alcohols, water, a little of this and a little of that. For some embalmers, pH control is very important. Embalming for dissection is a very different process from embalming for the funeral industry.
I worked with our embalmers on various management methods for their formaldehyde exposure, including monitoring, engineering controls and work flow adjustments. They are an interesting bunch, to say the least! In their new facility, many of the issues have gone away with good engineering.
In this application, it was important to understand the composition of embalming fluid being used, how they managed the “rinse” cycle and with what they replace embalming fluid to keep the cadavers in suitable condition for dissection over the course duration.
Sonia – I think we strayed way off topic from an answer to your original question. Did you get enough information to make a good recommendation?
Debbie M. Decker, Campus Chemical Safety Officer
Environmental Health and Safety
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616
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You might remember that embalming fluid is a mixture of 70% formaldehyde and 30% methanol. The methanol should also be considered in safety evaluations.
Alan H. Hall, M.D.
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