I have yet to see a suitable substitute for formalin in anatomical preservation for anatomy education; there are legal reasons to monitor formaldehyde if OSHA rules apply to your institution; special ventilation is needed to control formaldehyde in a cadaver lab, and in most instances, air can be vented to the outside without treatment.
I recommend that you take a look at the resources on this American Association of Anatomists webpage: http://www.anatomy.org/content/gross-anatomy-laboratory-design
Detailed answers to your questions can be found in these posts:
Effectiveness, Adaptation, and Health Risks of Embalming Fluids: Just What is the Solution? (Kate Sparey/EB 2012)
Assessing Formaldehyde Exposure in Your Gross Lab (Julia Rosen/EB 2012)
Engineering Controls to Reduce Formaldehyde Exposures: What works, what doesn't, and why? (Frank Demer/ EB 2012)
Proposed Improvements to ACGIH VS-99-07 Mortuary Table Design by (by F.R. Demer)
Formaldehyde Fact Sheet from OSHA
Frank R. Demer, MS, CIH, CSP
Health Safety Officer
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
University of Arizona
Department of Risk Management Services
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 210300, Tucson, AZ 85721-0300
Street Address: 220 W. 6th St., Tucson, AZ 85701 (2nd floor, East Bldg.)
Web Address: http://risk.arizona.edu/
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Nail, John
Sent: Saturday, August 23, 2014 8:06 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Cadaver labs and formaldehyde
A question for those of you who have cadaver labs -
Does a 'formaldehyde-free' embalming method for lab cadavers exist?
If a university is building a cadaver lab, does the lab need to have specialized equipment that will remove airborne formaldehyde?
Can the air in the lab be vented to outside the building without treatment?
Is there a legal (compliance or civil) reason to be monitoring for formaldehyde?
Many thanks for your replies,
Professor of Chemistry
Oklahoma City University
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