Conserve-O-Gram 2/18 Safe Storage and Handling of Natural History Specimens Preserved in Fluid
Source: National Park Service (NPS)
Most fluid-preserved natural history specimens are stored in alcohol or formaldehyde (see Table 1 for a list of commonly used preservatives and their
names). The most widely used preservative is ethyl alcohol, mixed with water in a concentration of 70%. The federal government closely regulates the sale and use of ethyl alcohol. A permit must be obtained from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms National Revenue Center to purchase tax-free ethyl alcohol. The second most commonly used preservative is isopropyl alcohol, in concentrations of 45-70%. Isopropyl alcohol may be purchased without a permit.