See replies to john Nail's questions below:
>A question for those of you who have cadaver labs -
>Does a 'formaldehyde-free' embalming method for lab cadavers exist?
Yes, but it is not a simple perfusion and involves the full immersion of the cadaver in a tank.
Alternatively you can still embalm with formalin-based fluids but then you can replace them with Infutrace or plasticizer so that the cadavers have little or no HCHO in them when they are brought into the student lab.
>If a university is building a cadaver lab, does the lab need to have specialized equipment that will remove airborne formaldehyde?
If you have cadavers preserved in formalin you need a local exhaust system (e.g. downdraft dissection tables) to protect the students and instructors from exposure. The area where you prep the cadavers should have a top quality local exhaust system as the technicians who do this work are there for the long term and are at greatest risk of exposure.
>Can the air in the lab be vented to outside the building without treatment?
It depends on the concentration coming out the stack and what your local authorizes will allow but in my experience there will be so much air flowing through your exhaust system that the resultant effluent concentration may very well be below regulated levels.
>Is there a legal (compliance or civil) reason to be monitoring for formaldehyde?
In my jurisdiction we have to monitor annually, due to the fact HCHO has made its way onto the carcinogen list. As well, due diligence dictates that you need to have good monitoring data if ever you are challenged with any lawsuits. True story: in our case the availability of reliable exposure data saved us millions of dollars.
>Many thanks for your replies,
>Professor of Chemistry
>Oklahoma City University
Wayne Wood, CIH | Associate Director, University Safety (EHS), University Services - Directeur Adjoint, Direction de la pre´vention (SSE), Services universitaires | McGill University | 3610 rue McTavish Street, 4th floor | Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 1Y2 | Tel: (514) 398-2391
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