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Slide stainers using different staining methods in an automated procedure that can be pre-programmed according to different specifications. A transport arm moves slides through parallel reagent vessels.
1. Slide stainers should come equipped with audible alarms. It is preferred that they have visual alarms as well. Facilities should determine waste disposal and water requirements on a case-by-case basis.
2. To remove excess reagents, some units offer circulating water washes. These models require separate water and waste lines or containers to prevent contamination of subsequent staining vessels.
3. Stainers that drain into sinks or a wastewater line must operate according to local wastewater treatment regulations; in some areas, these regulations may forbid the dumping of biohazard material into the main sewage system. State and local laws may require facilities to dispose of reagent runoff and specimen slides as chemical and/or medical waste.
4. There are systems with self-enclosed waste tanks for containing reagent waste.
5. Before making the purchase, facilities need to consider the operating costs of hematology or microbiological slide stainers. Buyers should keep in mind the ongoing expense for reagents.
6. Some models are designed to accept only reagents packaged in specific containers, so facilities need to keep in mind that there are manufacturers who do not permit reagent substitution on their units. However, many devices do accept stains, solvents, and other materials from various suppliers, and this offers significant cost savings. It is not recommended for a laboratory to depend on one supplier's prices for reagent supplies, and it is always better to select from many brands and not be limited to just one.