If you’re in the poultry industry, you know how important it is to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your birds.
One of the most effective ways to do this is through the use of disinfectants, and formalin is a popular choice. However, using formalin comes with its own set of risks and challenges.
In this article, we’ll explore how to use formalin safely and effectively in your poultry operation. From proper application techniques to potential health hazards, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the most of this powerful disinfectant.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to use formalin in poultry!
How To Use Formalin In Poultry?
Before applying formalin, it’s important to ensure that all personnel change into clean protective clothing and visually inspect every part of the farm facilities for cleanliness. This inspection should be done in good light and after the house and equipment have dried.
Disinfection should be performed by moving from the top to the sides and then the bottom of the house and from the back to the front of the house. Most disinfectants are dissolved in water and contact lasts until the applied solution is dry. Foaming disinfectants can increase the contact time of disinfectants as it takes longer to dry, and consequently, the antimicrobial activity of the disinfectant is extended.
No single disinfectant is best for all purposes. The product chosen should have been proved to be effective in independent tests against the relevant disease organisms in the region. Most of the disinfectants work best at temperatures above 20°C (68°F), but the dilution rate and the diluent water temperature used must be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Formalin is a broad-spectrum disinfectant that works in the presence of organic matter. It is advisable to use a formalin 4% end solution (commercial formalin 37.5% solution diluted 1:8 in water) and the addition of propylene glycol to formalin solution which enhances the formaldehyde vapor to penetrate pores and cracks.
Fumigation is best carried out when Relative Humidity is RH 70-80% and the house temperature is 21°C (70°F). Fumigating with paraformaldehyde tablets is another option. The quantities needed will depend on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Disinfection of floors: disinfection of dirty floors is virtually impossible. One common approach recommends tilling the top 10 to 15 cm of soil, then covering the entire floor area with plastic sheets and fumigating with formalin or methyl bromide gas under the plastic. Formaldehyde gas used on dirty floors is effective only on the surface, as fumigation is unable to affect pathogens at a depth of more than 2 cm.
What Is Formalin And How Does It Work?
Formalin is a solution of formaldehyde in water that is widely used as a fixative for preserving proteins and cellular organelles in newly-obtained specimens as well as in archived paraffin blocks. It works by penetrating tissues quickly and binding to various amino acids, including lysine, tyrosine, asparagine, tryptophan, histidine, arginine, cysteine, and glutamine in all of the proteins present in a specimen. The reaction between formalin and uncharged reactive amino groups leads to the formation of cross-links that stabilize the proteins and prevent their degradation.
However, formalin fixation is not selective, so cross-linking of target proteins with unrelated proteins can reduce immunoreactivity with target-specific antibodies. In addition, cross-linking can lead to significant changes in the three-dimensional conformation of proteins which may also reduce immunoreactivity. Fortunately, antigen retrieval methods can reverse the undesirable changes caused by fixation.
Formalin is the “gold standard” fixative in pathology labs worldwide owing to its convenience in handling, high degree of accuracy and extreme adaptability. Formalin preserves tissues by stabilizing proteins and preventing both autolysis and putrefaction. It also maintains the relationship between cells and extracellular substances by changing soluble substances within the cell to insoluble substances, thereby protecting the tissue from the denaturing effects of subsequent processing.
Formalin is a broad-spectrum disinfectant that works in the presence of organic matter. It is advisable to use a formalin 4% end solution (commercial formalin 37.5% solution diluted 1:8 in water) and the addition of propylene glycol to formalin solution which enhances the formaldehyde vapor to penetrate pores and cracks. Fumigation with paraformaldehyde tablets is another option for disinfection.
Benefits Of Using Formalin In Poultry
Formalin is a popular disinfectant in the poultry industry due to its effectiveness in controlling key organisms such as Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Proteus, E. coli, H.capsulatum, Staphylococcus, Streptococci, and Aspergillus. It is highly effective in reducing contamination levels caused by bacteria, viruses, and molds throughout the production process. Formalin is also a broad-spectrum disinfectant that works in the presence of organic matter, which makes it an ideal disinfectant for use in poultry farms.
Another benefit of using formalin is its low cost. Compared to other disinfectants such as glutaraldehyde, formalin is relatively inexpensive and readily available. It can be used in different forms such as a solution form as formalin, as a free gas or in a solid form as paraformaldehyde prills.
Formalin is also effective in killing all bacteria, spores, and viruses within 6-24 hours when used as a 0.5%-2.5% formaldehyde poultry disinfectant powder. It can be used for disinfection of poultry houses, utensils, and excrement. Formalin can also be made into a solution for spraying and washing or fumigated with formaldehyde vapor.
Moreover, formalin is easy to use and apply. It can be used for immersion and disinfection of instruments, fixing specimens and preserving data, and spraying and detoxifying the floor, walls, cages, etc. of chicken houses. Fumigation and disinfection can also be performed by heating and evaporating with formalin and the same amount of water.
Safety Precautions When Handling Formalin
Formalin is a hazardous substance that requires special safety precautions when handling. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including chemical goggles or a face shield, a laboratory coat, and closed-toe shoes. Never wear shorts or open-toed shoes when handling formalin.
Proper engineering controls must be utilized when working with formalin. In laboratories, formalin must be used in a functioning chemical fume hood. In areas where a chemical fume hood is not available, other forms of local exhaust ventilation (e.g. canopy hood, elephant trunk) should be used. If local exhaust ventilation is not feasible or insufficient to keep the concentration below the permissible exposure limit (PEL), respirators must be worn by those exposed to the vapors.
It is required that those using respirators complete a medical evaluation and are fit tested by the Division of Safety and Compliance (S&C). S&C should be contacted to perform air monitoring in these areas to determine potential exposures. At a minimum, wear standard laboratory attire: closed-toe shoes, long pants, a lab coat, safety glasses with side shields or splash goggles, and gloves.
Keep sources of ignition away when handling formalin solutions. Containers should be tightly closed when not in use and stored in a well-ventilated place. Unstabilized solutions may require refrigeration. Refer to section 7 in the product’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for manufacturer recommended storage conditions.
In work areas where the concentration of airborne formaldehyde exceeds either the Time-Weighted Average (TWA) or the Short-Term Exposure Limit (STEL), OSHA 1910.1048 requires signs on all entrances with the following legend: “MAY CAUSE CANCER CAUSES SKIN, EYE, AND RESPIRATORY IRRITATION AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.” Access to these work places has to be limited to authorized personnel that have received training on the hazards of formalin and safe handling procedures.
In case of ingestion, dilute, inactivate, or absorb the ingested formalin by giving milk, activated charcoal, or water. Any organic material will inactivate formalin. Keep affected person warm and at rest and seek medical attention immediately.
In case of spills or leaks, evacuate the area immediately and isolate the hazard area. Keep out unnecessary and unprotected personnel and use personal protective equipment as required. Ventilate area and eliminate ignition sources. Do not touch spilled material and dike spilled product to prevent runoff. Contain and soak up spill with absorbent that does not react with spilled product. Place used absorbent into suitable, covered, labeled containers for disposal. Large spills or leaks should be reported to emergency services and manufacturer/supplier for advice.
Handling formalin requires careful attention to safety precautions to minimize risks to personnel and facilities. By following appropriate handling procedures, the use of formalin can be both effective and safe for poultry disinfection purposes.
How To Properly Dilute Formalin
Formalin is a commonly used disinfectant in the poultry industry due to its broad-spectrum efficacy and ability to work in the presence of organic matter. To properly dilute formalin, a 10% solution is needed. This can be achieved by mixing 1 part of the stock formalin with 9 parts of water, preferably distilled.
It’s important to note that formalin is a hazardous material and should be handled with care. Disposal of spent formalin should be done properly to ensure that human health and the environment are protected. There are products available on the market that can neutralize formalin and make it a non-hazardous waste. Neutralization changes the pH of the solution to between 6-9 pH and dilutes the formalin to less than 0.1%. Additional products can then convert the neutralized solution into a solid that is safe for landfill disposal.
When using formalin for disinfection purposes, it’s advisable to use a formalin 4% end solution (commercial formalin 37.5% solution diluted 1:8 in water) and add propylene glycol to enhance the formaldehyde vapor’s ability to penetrate pores and cracks. Fumigation should be carried out when Relative Humidity is RH 70-80% and the house temperature is 21°C (70°F).
Application Techniques For Formalin In Poultry
When applying formalin in poultry, it is important to follow proper application techniques to ensure effective disinfection. Here are some recommended application techniques for formalin in poultry:
1. Dilute the formalin solution: Commercial formalin 37.5% solution should be diluted 1:8 in water to achieve a 4% end solution. This concentration has been proven to be effective against relevant disease organisms in the region.
2. Add propylene glycol: Adding propylene glycol to the formalin solution can enhance the formaldehyde vapor’s ability to penetrate pores and cracks, making it more effective.
3. Fumigation: Fumigation is the most effective way to disinfect poultry houses using formalin. It is best carried out when relative humidity is between 70-80% and the house temperature is around 21°C (70°F). The quantities needed will depend on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
4. Disinfection of floors: Disinfection of dirty floors is virtually impossible. One common approach recommends tilling the top 10 to 15 cm of soil, then covering the entire floor area with plastic sheets and fumigating with formalin or methyl bromide gas under the plastic. Formaldehyde gas used on dirty floors is effective only on the surface, as fumigation is unable to affect pathogens at a depth of more than 2 cm.
By following these application techniques, poultry farmers can effectively disinfect their facilities using formalin while ensuring the safety of their workers and livestock.
Potential Health Hazards Of Formalin Exposure
Exposure to formalin, which contains formaldehyde, can be hazardous to human health. Formaldehyde is a colorless, highly toxic, and flammable gas that can irritate the skin, throat, lungs, and eyes upon exposure. Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen, which means that it has the potential to cause cancer in humans. Short-term exposure to formaldehyde can be fatal, while long-term exposure to low levels of formaldehyde may cause respiratory difficulty, eczema, and sensitization.
Industrial workers who produce formalin or formalin-containing products, laboratory technicians, certain health care professionals, and mortuary employees may be exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde than the general public. Exposure occurs primarily by inhaling formaldehyde gas or vapor from the air or by absorbing liquids containing formaldehyde through the skin.
Formalin is a broad-spectrum disinfectant that works in the presence of organic matter. It is advisable to use a formalin 4% end solution (commercial formalin 37.5% solution diluted 1:8 in water) and the addition of propylene glycol to formalin solution which enhances the formaldehyde vapor to penetrate pores and cracks. However, the use of formalin should be done with caution and proper protective equipment should be used to prevent exposure.