Both methanal and glutaraldehyde based embalming solutions are widely used in continuing dead organic structures and in pathology, forensic medical specialty and museums. Phenoxyethanol may be an alternate to them. Each of them has its virtues and demerits but none of them is wholly non-toxic. This reappraisal is about assorted possible inauspicious effects of these embalmbing solutions.

Cardinal words: Embalming solutions, Formaldehyde, Glutaraldehyde and Phenoxyethanol.


After decease human organic structure starts rot, to forestall this procedure embalming is required. By this procedure dead organic structure retains its morphological features for a longer clip period. Subsequently on this preserved organic structure is used in medical institutes for the survey of anatomy by pupils. Anatomy is the anchor in medical course of study in which pupils learn the external and internal constructions of human organic structure in item. Furthermore embalming process can besides be used to maintain dead organic structures integral during transit. Besides this, embalming solution is indispensable component in saving of parts in pathology, forensic medical specialty and museums. These solutions contain figure of chemicals mixed in appropriate ratio for their specific intents. Important components are preservatives, buffers, decoagulants, disinfectants, antifungals, aromatizing agents, hygroscopic agents, dyes, etc.

An ideal embalming solution should neither change the natural constructions including colour of the specimen, nor have any type of inauspicious effects in signifier of topical or systemic. It should besides forestall growing of insects and maggots and the rot procedure. All these features are normally non found in the routinely used embalming solutions. Therefore it becomes an of import issue to educate the individuals sing the possible amendss produced by the embalming solutions. This reappraisal article has been written with purpose to give the information sing constituents used in the embalming solutions their advantages and disadvantages.

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Important chemicals like methanal, glutarldehyde, methyl intoxicant, phenol, glycerol, oil of winter viridity, eosine solution, phenoxy ethyl alcohol are used to do the embalming solutions. Depending upon the concentration of single chemical these solutions have been grouped in to three types: ( a ) Formaldehyde based embalming solution, ( B ) Glutaraldehyde based embalming solution and ( degree Celsius ) Phenoxyethanol based embalming solution.


Formaldehyde ( HCHO ) is most normally used chemical for embalming intents. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a strong, smothering olfactory property. It is frequently assorted with intoxicant to do liquid called formol. The largest beginning of methanal is the chemical fabrication industry. Formaldehyde is found in coffin nail fume and besides can be formed in the environment during the combustion of fuels or family waste. Very little sum of methanal is found of course in the human organic structure. Formaldehyde is a popular chemical because of its low cost and can be used for many intents like doing furniture, wall panelling, etc. Formaldehyde besides can be used as disinfectant and preservative. It is besides found in points such as dyes, fabrics, plastics, paper merchandises, fertiliser, and cosmetics. Formaldehyde solutions are used as a fixative for microscopy and histology. Formaldehyde-based solutions are besides used in embalming to disinfect and temporarily continue homo and animate being remains. The concentration of methanal is normally expressed in footings of parts per million ( 1 ppm = 1.248 mg/cu.m. ) . This is prepared by blending the commercially available formalin solution with tap H2O in the proportion of 3:1 [ 1 ] . The usage of methanal in continuing the tissues, variety meats, and organic structure parts is really common. Technicians in histology research lab, pupils in anatomy categories, are exposed to this solution. Formaldehyde has been known to bring forth allergic reaction, contact dermatitis, eczema, annoyance and redness to mucus membranes, and if ingested can bring forth systemic toxicity which can be fatal. This besides has inclination to bring forth mutants and development of malignance. Permissible bounds of occupational exposure to formaldehyde are 3 ppm in a clip weight mean take a breathing zone during an 8-hour period, a ceiling concentration of 5 ppm and an acceptable maximal extremum of 10 ppm for no longer than 30 proceedingss during a one twenty-four hours displacement. To cut down the toxic potency of formol it needs to be buffered by add-on of a little measure of Sodium tetraborate to acquire a somewhat alkalic solution with a pH of 7.2. This buffered formol demands to be newly prepared merely before fixing the embalming fluid. These chemicals are assorted to do an embalming fluid.

Occupational exposure to formaldehyde by inspiration is chiefly from three types of beginnings: thermal or chemical decomposition of formaldehyde-based rosins, formaldehyde emanation from aqueous solutions ( for illustration, embalming fluids ) , and the production of formaldehyde ensuing from the burning of a assortment of organic compounds ( for illustration, exhaust gases ) [ 2 ] . Once absorbed, formaldehyde is really rapidly interrupt down. Almost every tissue in the organic structure has the ability to interrupt down formaldehyde. It is normally converted to a non-toxic chemical called formate, which is excreted in the piss and is converted to carbon dioxide and breathed out of the organic structure. But formaldehyde can be toxic, allergenic, and carcinogenic [ 3 ] . Acute exposure of formol adversely affects pneumonic system. It may diminish critical capacity much more every bit compared to other pneumonic parametric quantities. This may be attributed to bronchoconstriction produced by formol [ 4 ] . Experimental surveies have shown that exposure of methanal may damage liver. This devastation is straight relative to the length of exposure of methanal. Few clinical surveies have besides shown the detrimental consequence of methanal on liver of human existences. The hepatic harm occurs in signifier of congestion of hepatic parenchyma and lift of hepatic enzymes [ 5-7 ] . Neurological toxicities after exposure to formaldehyde in human existences are manifested in signifier of weariness, concern, myodynia etc. If toxicity is due to formaldehyde consumption, individual may hold loss of memory, ictuss, altered behaviour, altered consciousness and in terrible instances coma. Animal exposure of methanal has shown encephalon harm in signifier of altered neurotransmission. The chief neurotransmitter alterations are increased 5-hydroxytryptamine and Dopastat metabolites in hypothalamus [ 8, 9 ] . Hematopoietic system is non much affected by the methanal exposure. However intravascular coagulopathy, change of ruddy cell count and haemoglobin concentration has been reported in some surveies [ 8 ] . Gastrointestinal piece of land is non much affected when exposure is through inspiration. However, when ingested it may adversely impact the GIT. If toxic dosage of methanal is ingested it produces inflammatory lesions of orophyarnx, soft roof of the mouth, pharaynx, epiglottis, esophagous, tummy. These lesions are due to reach irritant and caustic nature of methanal. The lesion may be in signifier of ulcerations and mortification. Clinically this toxicity manifests in signifier of abdominal spasms, purging, haematemasis, malena, altered gut motility etc. Chronic consumption of methanal may besides give rise to gastric and esophageal malignances [ 8-10 ] . Though nephritic system is non a major mark of formaldehyde metamorphosis, nevertheless hazard of nephritic failure and anuresis is at that place in individuals acutely exposed to the methanal. The carnal experiments have shown that methanal can bring forth nephritic papillose mortification, polyuria, increased blood N [ 9 ] . Formaldehyde is a skin thorn and cuticular sensitisation agent. Contact dermatitis, allergic dermatitis, erythema, cuticular hyperplasia have been shown to happen due to chronic exposure of methanal in animate beings every bit good as in human existences [ 11 ] . Air born methanal exposure most often produces oculus annoyance. Endocrine system and generative variety meats are minimally affected [ 12 ] .

Formaldehyde may hold mutagenic and carcinogenic potency. Out of all malignant neoplastic diseases nasopharyngeal malignant neoplastic disease has been good established to hold association with formaldehyde exposure. Fortunately methanal has non been correlated with teratogenic possible [ 13-15 ] .

To cut down the hazard of harm due to formaldehyde, certain steps can be adopted. Replacing the methanal with less risky chemical, cut downing the concentration of methanal in the solution, proper storage of merchandise, shuting the jar when non used, disposal of open apparels are some of them. Facility of fume goon merely at the site of embalming, have oning personal protective equipments like face mask, safety goggles, ego contained take a breathing setup, baseball mitts, H2O cogent evidence duster, caput cogwheel etc farther reduces the opportunities of exposure. Careful monitoring of lung map trials, chest x-ray, allergy testing, and scrutiny of eyes clip to clip should be adopted. Other of import work patterns recommended are labeling the container, educating employee sing the possible inauspicious effects, supervising the air concentration of the room, avoiding feeding and smoke at work topographic point. Formaldehyde is inflammable and safeguards to forestall fire should be taken. Any spill should be instantly informed. If spill occurs evacuate the room and range to the safe topographic point, extinguish all ignition points, spread the dry sand over the chemical, ventilate country. If contact has occurred the individual should rinse tegument, eyes, take contaminated vesture and should be treated as an exigency [ 16 ] .


Glutaraldehyde an aliphatic dialdehyde is a colourless liquid with pungent odor. It is one of the best biocide agents for disinfection and sterilisation at infirmaries. This is really widely used in medical, scientific, and industrial application. As fixator in histochemistry and microscopy, tanning agent and as ingredients in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are some of the of import utilizations of gluteraldehyde pharmaceuticals [ 17, 18 ] . Radiologists use gluteraldehyde as hardener in x-ray developing solution [ 19 ] . Though considered a comparatively safe, it possesses annoying and caustic belongingss. The strength of gluteraldehyde may change from 1 to 50 % [ 20 ] . This variable concentration exposure may give rise multiple unexpected toxic effects. In general due to its corrosive and irritant effects it produces throat annoyance, rhinal hemorrhage, firing eyes, precipitation of asthma and sneezing [ 21 ] . Due to its tanning consequence it besides discolors the custodies of managing individuals. Large acute dosage can precipitate terrible concern, purging, and altered consciousness. The individuals normally exposed to glutaraldehyde are staff workers involved in sterilisation of endoscopes, dialysing machine, research workers, and x-ray movie developers. Glutaraldehyde exhibits superior belongingss to formaldehyde in relation to the arrested development, disinfection and sterilisation. It is more effectual in less concentration and in less clip exposure as compared to formaldehyde. Sing the embalming belongingss, glutaraldeyde is slow diffusing, but develops rapid irreversible reactions with the organic structure proteins. This is in contrast to the methanal which is fast diffusor, but produces reversible reactions with proteins. This feature of glutaraldehyde favours its usage as embalming solution. Merely disadvantage of glutaraldehyde as embalming solution is the slow tissue perfusion ensuing in visual aspect of marks of embalmation really tardily. Hardening and stiffening of organic structure occurs after long continuance. So the organic structure has life like visual aspect for a longer clip. Another advantage of glutaraldehyde is that reactions are less affected by pH changes and it reacts even at the higher pH where methanal becomes inactive. Because of slow diffusion and perfusion rate glutaraldehyde reacts less with blood and blood perfused tissues. This leads to minimum curdling and more glade of blood from tissues. This persevered tissue becomes clearer in visual aspect. However, if glutaraldehyde solution is kept for long clip xanthous tanning and blackening of tissues occur.

Sing the toxic potency of glutaraldehyde, it is comparatively safe but Numberss of animate being surveies have indicated that unwritten consumption can bring forth GI harm, change of behaviour, precipitation of ictuss. Local external contact has tendency to bring forth contact dermatitis, brown stain of tegument, exfoliation of tegument, pinkeye. Vapor inspiration of glutaraldehyde may precipitate bronchospasm, rhinal discharge, inordinate lachrymation, salivation, and dyspnoea [ 22 ] . Another drawback of glutaraldehyde is that it may bring forth radiosensitivity to the ultra-violet beams. This may be responsible for the erythematous lesions after Sun exposure. There is no proved hazard of glutaraldehyde as genotoxic and mutagenic agent but most of the surveies are based on animate beings. Therefore opportunities of mutagenicity, genotoxicity, and carcinogenicity can non be excluded in worlds. The individuals exposed to glutaraldehyde for long continuance should undergo through regular medical medical examination. The teratogenic potency has non been reported in carnal surveies but if possible the exposure of glutaraldehyde should be avoided during gestation and lactation [ 23 ] .


Phenoxyethonol besides known as phenoxytol or phenoxyethyl intoxicant is a colorless or light xanthous, viscos liquid. This is a strong oxidizing agent. It is incompatible with acidic solutions and besides has combustible belongings. Phenoxyethanol is a modern antimicrobic preservative. Soon this is used as common preservative in diphtheria, lockjaw, and pertusis vaccinum. This inactivates both bacterial and fungous growing. Other usage of phenoxyethanol is as preservative of decorative stuffs. Due to its ability to suppress phagocyte activity it is supposed to be toxic to all cells. Furthermore it can change the unsusceptibility of the open individuals.

As for the other alternate chemicals in topographic point of methanal, Frolich et Al in 1984 tried utilizing phenoxyethanol as its non-toxic replacement. It proved to be impractical as the sum required was big, i.e. , about 600 liters for each corpse necessitating uninterrupted egress to forestall mould formation and the arrested development procedure taking 5 to 10 months [ 24 ] . Assorted inauspicious effects by Phenoxyethanol can be: cardinal nervous depression, sickness, emesis, & A ; sometimes diarrhea, outstanding concern, subsequently abdominal & A ; lumbar hurting, costovertebral angle tenderness, transient polyuria & A ; so oliguria, come oning to anuria, acute nephritic failure, less critical pathological lesions may look in encephalon, lungs, liver, meninxs & A ; bosom

[ 25 ] .

Other constituents which are used in embalming solution are methyl intoxicant, carbolic acid, Na tetraborate, glycerol, eucalyptus oil, and eosine. Methyl intoxicant helps in precipitation of proteins and cut downing taint. This besides helps in scattering of methanal into the organic structure tissues. Carbolic acid helps by its germicidal and antifungal actions. Sodium tetraborate is used as buffer agent and stabilising agent. Eucalyptus oil Acts of the Apostless as aroma and eosine helps in giving the ruddy colour to the tissues.


Sing all the characters of chemicals used in embalming solution one can see that it is impractical to happen out non toxic embalming solution. The individual involved in procedure of embalming every bit good as pupils should be taught sing the possible risky effects and methods to minimise. The topographic point should be good equipped for managing of any exigency status. Each one involved should be taught sing the processs of basic life supports. If any indecent incidence happens the individual should be stabilized by basic life support followed by switching to the topographic point equipped with beforehand life support system.


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