The Complete Formalin Safety Solution for Labs and Theatres

The Current Use of Formalin as a Fixative, Associated Risks and the Formalin Safety Solution for UK Hospitals 

Formalin has been used as a tissue preservative in operating rooms and pathology laboratories for over one hundred years. Formalin is a solution of about 4% formaldehyde and water (known as 10% NBF) and is ubiquitous in clinical laboratories, pathology laboratories, and in operating rooms.

Formalin is highly irritating to the upper respiratory tract, eyes, and skin, and is a known carcinogen. “In humans, formaldehyde exposure has been associated with cancers of the lung, nasopharynx and oropharynx, and nasal passages.1 It is also considered to be mutagenic. In addition to those problems, modern healthcare institutions often have multiple clinics, hospitals, operating rooms, and laboratories at separate geographic locations. This requires that surgical tissue samples, large or small, be transported over significant distances in formalin-filled containers, greatly increasing the risk of potentially dangerous formalin spills.

Transporting specimens in formalin, obviously, expands the risk of exposure and spills. Containers for transport need to be well sealed, resistant to vibration and shock that may cause leakage or breakage. Most formalin spills in a laboratory or transport environment can be cleaned up by someone who is not trained. However, it is flammable, potentially explosive, as well as carcinogenic and mutagenic. Standard procedure in most hospital or lab environments would include cordoning off the spill area during clean-up, and potentially evacuating personnel to avoid exposure to fumes. Any system that would minimize or eliminate the amount of fixative/formalin would be desirable.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified Formaldehyde as a 'Carcinogenic for human beings'. Formalin is the most widely used fixative in anatomical pathology, which is a cause for concern among healthcare professionals based in laboratories who are exposed to potentially harmful vapours/contaminated work surfaces.

The Weakness of Current Spill-Response Solutions

It is not enough to be equipped with an emergency response kit solely for the management of large formalin spillages since much smaller scale spillages can occur daily. Ordinary clean-up procedures cannot completely remove the residual formalin as the surface will remain contaminated and continue to release formaldehyde gas into the environment. Even if the amount is not appreciable, it is still considered a safety concern. Furthermore, current response solutions take much longer to act on any residual formalin, leading to further safety concerns for staff who are required to deal with smaller spillages.

The Complete Formalin Safety Solution for Hospital Pathology and Theatre Departments

Novok is a patented solution designed to decompose formaldehyde molecules on contact, without leaving any residue behind. Quite simply, it is the quickest, safest and most effective product currently available on the market for dealing with Formalin spillages.

The active ingredients we supply are Novok-POW and Novok-S. Novok-POW is a highly absorbent polymeric powder which, when applied to a Formalin spill, rapidly inflates and solidifies the liquid mass. Novok-S is a liquid spray which has a high oxidizing power on Formaldehyde particles. When Novok-S is sprayed on to the solid mass of Novok-POW, they work in conjunction to rapidly eliminate Formaldehyde particles in the environment and facilitate a quick and safe clean up process.

The following video illustrates the speed and effectiveness of Novok-POW and Novok-S:

Novok-POW & Novok-S on their own can easily manage smaller spills up to 60ml without the need for any additional safety equipment. However, for any larger spillages, we recommend a full spill kit with additional safety equipment to protect staff from exposure to Formalin during the cleanup process. We also supply the Novokit which contains enough Novok-S & Novok-POW to deal with spillages all the way up to six litres. Also included is:


Novok Efficacy

Please view a recent study on the efficacy of the Novok formula as a fast-acting agent against the prevalence of formalin molecules; please Click the link below:

Please contact us if you would like further information on Novok Range