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
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Davis
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."
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
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