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Help! Concentrated Ethidium bromide on skin - (Jul/13/2006 )

Hi, need help, my fren accidentally spilled concentrated ethidium bromide on me. Somehow the ethidium bromide bottle she was carrying had a loose cap and it hit the table splashing a droplet size volume of ethidium bromide on my forehead, I immediately ran to the wash area and started washing my forehead with water for 15mins, the technical service officer then asked me to apply facial foam and wash.

I know of the hazards of ethidium bromide, and am now very scared. Does anyone know of the possible early symptoms of etbr spillage on skin? Right now, I feel absolutely lost.


Nicholas, please don't worry. You did absolutly the right thing in washing off with copious amount sof water. We've seen this theme on this forum a few times. You'd be most at risk if you were very young (baby, toddler) or were pregnant. Even then, the volume with which you came into contact is small and was in contact for such a short time. I doubt you'll see blistering/ redness or itchiness on the skin..if you keep touching and rubbing you might! I really don't think there's any thing to worry about.

Do have words with your lab about basic safety & handling liquids. What you describe is a terrible mistake for anyone to make in a lab. I thought we all knew never to lift a bottle by the lid but I watched one of my senior technicians do justthat with a litre bottle of HCl this week.


Thank you, you're right, I was taught to hold ethidium bromide by the base but my fren, well she got a droplet near the eye. Sigh, hopefully nothing happens, was so worried that i wld get some lump that when i came home, i started reading bioforums after bioforums and looking at every ethBr MSDS on the web.


A friend of mine did his master's thesis research in a lab where one of the older people working there (don't know if it was a post-doc or a PI) never wore gloves when working with EtBr. Must have been so for years, and no problems detected, but I wouldn't advise anyone to do so. Just to let you know that EtBr isn't healthy, but that you should not be too scared, you're most likely working with more toxic agents.


despite of the fact your skin was previously injuried, the skin barrier per se is enough to ensure no penetration of EtBr if rinsed like you did.
So you were good in that situation.


Thank goodness I feel at ease, I was reading through some of the past topics of ethidium bromide, but they were about spillage from the TAE buffer where the EthBr concentration is low, mine is from the dark bottle itself, not diluted. I read one post that said, some people use EthBr without gloves for so long, that their fingers glow orange under UV