Reducing Formalin Usage in the Anatomic Pathology Laboratory Produces Increased Savings and Minimizes Chemical Exposure by Histotechnologists and Pathologists


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Media Contact: Ron Martin


AUSTIN, Texas (June 18, 2014) – It is common knowledge that formalin is a nasty chemical. That’s why savvy pathology laboratories want to reduce or eliminate its use. Now a new technology solution makes it possible to stabilize and ship tissue specimens from the operating room or physician’s office to the pathology laboratory.

This new alternative for short-term storage of pathology tissues is a combination of vacuum storage and refrigeration. Milestone Medical  (Sorisole, Italy) developed a system for sealing tissue samples in a sterile vacuum bag, which can then be stored refrigerated for a limited time. This system is called TissueSAFE. Another system, SealSAFE system, utilizes a container to which formalin can be added, but is then vacuum-sealed.

Formalin has been used extensively as a tissue preservative in operating rooms and anatomic pathology laboratories for well over one hundred years. Unfortunately, formalin is hazardous, is highly irritating to the upper respiratory tract, eyes, and skin, and is a known carcinogen and mutagenic agent. Although unlikely to be eliminated completely from laboratories and operating rooms because it is an inexpensive, reliable and versatile fixative reagent, there are now technological solutions that can decrease the amount of formalin used by healthcare institutions and laboratories while still maintaining high levels of tissue fixation.

”Any innovation that contributes to reduced usage of formalin in anatomic pathology laboratories is a benefit to hospitals, health systems and clinical laboratories that transport and process tissue specimens,” noted Robert L. Michel, Editor-in-Chief of and The Dark Report. “There are multiple advantages to reduced formalin usage, including savings in reagent purchases and even more significant savings in terms of formalin and tissue disposal. Most importantly, it decreases healthcare workers’ exposure to a potentially hazardous chemical, and you can’t put a price on protecting the health of pathologists and histotechs.”

The Dark Report is pleased to offer a FREE White Paper, “Advances in Pathology Tissue Management Reduce Formalin Use, Improve Quality and Cut Costs.”  Published by The Dark Report  and Dark Daily, it is available free to laboratory professionals as a PDF download.

Along with other topics, this FREE White Paper specifically addresses:

• Why traditional methods of handling tissue fall short of today’s requirements for anatomic pathology labs.

• Challenges in the movement of pathology tissue specimens.

• The benefits of new pathology tissue management technologies.

• Specific advances in pathology tissue management that reduce formalin use, improve quality, and cut costs.

• An in-depth case study of how the pathology lab of a major metropolitan health system significantly reduced the use of formalin with improved quality and significant cost savings.

The paper’s editors are David P. Sanford, General Manager, and Joel Servais, Marketing Manager of Milestone Medical’s U.S. operation, a worldwide leader in advanced microwave and histology instrumentation for analytical laboratories. Before joining Milestone, Mr. Sanford was President of Richard-Allan Scientific, now a subsidiary of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Mr. Sanford attended undergraduate school at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and Economics and attended Michigan State University’s Eli Broad Executive MBA program. Prior to joining Milestone, Servais was the Manager of Marketing Services for Thermo Fischer Scientific. His responsibilities include support for product development, sales, and marketing initiatives. He has served as a design and marketing professional in the surgical and pathology market since 1991.

This White Paper, “Advances in Pathology Tissue Management Reduce Formalin Use, Improve Quality and Cut Costs” is available for free download as a PDF at It is part of the Dark Daily Resource Center, which has a growing library of White Papers and other information resources tailored specifically for the needs of laboratory administrators, lab managers, pathologists, and lab industry consultants.


Established in 1995, THE DARK REPORT is the leading source of exclusive business intelligence for laboratory CEOs, COOs, CFOs, Pathologists and Senior industry executives. It is widely read by leaders in laboratory medicine and diagnostics. The Dark Report produces the famous Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management  every spring, which showcases innovations by the nation’s and globe’s leading laboratory organizations. Dark Daily  is an Internet-based e-briefing intelligence service, read worldwide by thought leaders in laboratory and pathology management. Other well-known conferences conducted by THE DARK REPORT are Lab Quality Confab  (on the use of Lean and Six Sigma methods in labs and hospitals) and Molecular Summit  (on the integration of in vivo and in vitro diagnostics). THE DARK REPORT co-produces Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine annually in the United Kingdom; Executive Edge bi-annually in Canada; and The Business of Pathology bi-annually in Australia.