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From the Archives of the Archives
September 1999

A look at the past . . .

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117(9):1226. doi:10.1001/archopht.117.9.1226

Knives with handles of different materials were exposed for varying periods to the action of a number of antiseptic agents. As a result of these experiments, alcohol was found to be harmless for short exposures (less than twenty-four hours). Prolonged exposure caused rusting. Formaldehyde gas given off by formol in a closed vessel was harmless within an hour or two. When the exposure was continued for twenty-four hours, small whitish spots appeared, which could be wiped off, but left a slightly roughened surface.