Re'anne Roesemann
Formaldehyde History

Ancient Practices:

1) Removied brain tissue and organs then used"natron" a mixture of sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, sodium carbonate, and potassium and sodium nitrate, to dehydrate the body

2) Injected cedar oil into the anus and stoppered the opening, then used natron on the external body

3) Cleansed the body, dried with natron, wrapped in linen


Early embalming fluids contained turpentine, camphor, lavender oil, vermilion, wine, rosin, and saltpeter.

By 19th century, embalming fluids that were patented contained salts of heavy metals, such as arsenic, antimony lead, mercury, and copper.

Formaldehyde Today

~By early 1900's formaldehyde became compound of choice

~Ability discovered in late 1800's

~Undergoes two reactions:

1) involves formation of methylene glycol

2) reacts with oxygen to yield formic acid

~Preserves tissue by forming cross-links among protein groups to create a stable, complex matrix (exact cell fixation is unknown)

~Presumed to be a carcinogen

~Tried to be replaced with glutaraldehyde but since it's a skin and eye irritant and more expensive formaldehyde is still embalming fluid of choice

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