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The formaldehyd gas that arises from pathologic specimens that have been preserved in solution of formaldehyd is irritating to the average person's eyes, nose and hands. A method for neutralizing the disagreeable fumes is here reported.
The agent is ammonia, which combines readily with formaldehyd to form the nonirritating compound hexamethylenamin.
4 NH3 + 6 CH2O = (CH2)6 N4 + 6 H2O.
The procedure is as follows: The formaldehyd preserved material is first rinsed in water, followed by a brief dip in a solution of very dilute ammonium hydroxid. The latter is made up by adding from 5 to 10 c.c. of strong ammonia water (28 per cent. NH3 with a specific gravity of 0.9) to the liter of tap water. The mixture smells very faintly of ammonia, but it will completely deodorize formaldehyd saturated tissues, which ordinarily are very disagreeable to handle. I
White JC. DEODORIZATION OF PATHOLOGIC SPECIMENS PRESERVED IN SOLUTION OF FORMALDEHYD. JAMA. 1925;85(6):436. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.26710060002012a
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