From: Debbie M. Decker <dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Biology Specimen Disposal
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2014 15:39:06 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: f2ebd4b450884fc9a27241b29b99507b**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <975FA6B99931624499BC3BAD910E4F6F06230F5726**At_Symbol_Here**>

Hi Laura:


Oh ick – nasty job.


This is what we’ve done here.   In a fume hood, decant off the liquid from the preserved samples – a big funnel with some cheesecloth stretched over it to capture the solids.  Send the tissue for incineration and the liquid as hazardous waste – bulk buffered formalin or flammable alcohol waste.  We worked with the incinerator people to make sure taking these preserved samples was within their permit.


Good luck – it was neither easy nor cheap, I’m afraid.


Going forward – we chose to use a different method of preserving samples.  Think “seal-a-meal” – the preserved tissue was vacuum sealed with a little bit of preservative (a tablespoon or two) in the package.  Takes up much less space and samples can be removed from the packaging and resealed, if need be.  Also reduces the overall chemical load.


Hope this helps,



Debbie M. Decker, CCHO

Safety Manager

Department of Chemistry

University of California, Davis

122 Chemistry

1 Shields Ave.

Davis, CA  95616





Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction

that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,

can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."





From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Laura Damon
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2014 2:01 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Biology Specimen Disposal


Hi All,


We are cleaning out and remodeling our biology lab and have LOTS of preserved specimens, some from as far back as the  1940’s.  The biology folks want to discard these.  My question…is there any way to dispose of them other than through a hazardous waste facility?  I assume most are stored in formaldehyde solution.


Thanks in advance for your wisdom and replies.


Laura L Damon

Coordinator of Instructional Safety and Chemical Hygiene

Flathead Valley Community College

Kalispell, MT


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