Plastination keeps anatomical tissues from decaying and allows them to be handled by students without exposure to toxic chemicals and pathogens. The process, developed in 1977, preserves most of their properties by replacing water and fat with silicone polymers.
The plastination lab at EVMS is used for creating special educational materials. With these specially processed specimens, EVMS has been able to educate students, residents and medical professionals and has developed a Live Responsibly Campaign, which uses the specimens as concrete examples of how choices affect health and disease in our culture. This teaches the actual cost and effect of alcohol, smoking, bike helmets, diabetes and heart disease as they relate to obesity, activity rates and social responsibility.