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Subspecialties Biochemistry and molecular biology, Laboratory management, Histology

Water: When Things Go Wrong

At a Glance

  • Laboratory procedures often require large volumes of water
  • A supply of purified water is essential, but there are many risks for contamination, which could stop a lab service completely
  • Sources of contamination include the water supply, the purification unit and the equipment
  • It’s important that laboratories have good lines of communication with purification system suppliers, estates/maintenance teams, and understand what to look out for when things go wrong to minimize disruption

Water is the single most important reagent used by those of us who work in laboratories, but it’s often taken for granted. It is only when the supply is interrupted or compromised that its value is appreciated.

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About the Author

Tim James

Tim James is head biomedical scientist of clinical biochemistry at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

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