ethidium bromide on clothes - (Feb/20/2006 )
i accidently spilled some used eletrophoresis buffer on my lab coat the other day and realized later some leaked through on to my pants. i subsequently learned later that the buffer was mildly contaminated with etbr just by running a gel with etbr in it for an hour. The final gel concentration was between 1 and .5 micro grams per ml. So i consulted the msds and it just said to wash contaminated clothing before reuse so i washed the jeans with regular detergent serarately. they then accidentaly got mixed with with my other clothes that went into the dryer. Could I have contaminated the rest of my clothing with ethidium bromide? the amount i probably got on my pants was small so should i even worry about it?
I shouldn't worry about it. The EtBr will have happily washed down the sink when you washed your trousers, so the rest of your clothing is fine. Don't panic about it. Any traces will be so low as to be at less-than-homeopathic strength.
Of course, if you're really looking for an excuse to get a whole new wardrobe of designer gear, then you should say that the rest of your clothing is completely unwearable and will cause instant, painful death if you even look at it. The only solution is to bag it up, place it in the attic for the minimum safe period (5 years or so) and replace it with the nicest things your partner/flatmate/parent/mates can afford. They owe it to you after you being so traumatised by your near-death experience.
Trust me. I'm a scientist and I know about these things.
at first I wasn't worrying about it but then if you start looking online some people act like ethidium bromide is equal to death even at really low concentrations. I don't usually work with EtBr (i do mostly protein work) so that is why i started getting paranoid and sadly i can't afford a new wardrobe being a poor graduate student.
totally agree with b3ka
but - i understand that when you really read a lot about EtBr (and all the other chemicals we use) you can really scare yourself
as long you washed everythign (including your leg), you'll be fine!
honnestly EtBr scares me a little (contact to others things i may touch whtihout knowing etbr was on them). The main scare is about environmenal considerations.
But in your situation, washing the clothe is ok regarding presence of EtBr.
Even though EtBr isn't healhy, there are probably reagents that are A LOT more toxic that you're also using on a routine basis, so I wouldn't be too worried. Just washing will remove most of it.
thanks for your input all. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to contaminate everything including myself by wearing my clothes.
I wouldn't worry. EtBr is one of the lesser toxic things in a lab believe it or not (as compared to PFA, organics, viruses etc). I wouldn't suggest you drink it but a little spill is no biggie. You did exactly as you should have and now should move on without worry.