Protocol Online logo
Top : Forum Archives: : General Lab Techniques

Strong contamination with ethidium bromide - (Jun/04/2007 )

Pages: 1 2 3 Next

Since 3 weeks I am using Ethidium bromide without taking much more care of it. Everyday I used it and I notice that few drops of the stock solution were throw on my finger each time I opened the tube. I never washed afterwards. I estimated that I have done it at least 10 times. I just read how toxic is ethidium bromide and now I am very scared about had contaminated myself. Some people says that ethidium bromide fear is paranoia but if not what should I do? Book a place in a graveyard ?


Keep taking your showers, and forget about it. It's not likely to have much effect. I wouldn't eat it, but you should probably worry more about wearing a helmet when you bike.


Egads!! First of all, most people don't worry too much about the diluted solution although I think this is a mistake. I always wear gloves when handling EtBr (stock, solution or gels). Also, be aware that EtBr can penetrate latex gloves within about 30 seconds. The stock solution is a whole different story. This stuff is nasty and will incorporate into your DNA quite easily. I don't think you need to be too concerned about the contamination that you've experienced, not much you can do about it now anyway. In the future you should be more aware. You should NEVER use a chemical in the lab that you don't know. Take a few minutes to look it up. I like to look up chemicals. This tells you of any safety procedures you should be taking. Seriously, it's important, not only for yourself but your labmates, that you are aware of what you are doing and what chemicals you are working with. People can and do get hurt everyday in labs because of ignorance.. it's a good way to end a career fast!


you should be careful. i dont care EtBr so much, i know it not good but yet not having any problem, i think EtBr is over estimated but ofcourse you should use gloves whether it is overestimated or not

-T. reesei-

So nobody could really know if I will get a desease because of that or not? And there is nothing that I can do to avoid this putative desease ... Is there a paper about that or we really know nothing about it toxicity? Benzene is also a intercalant agent and it toxicity does not seems so important by short contact. Is it making sense to compare benzene and ethidium?


ok well EtBr intercalates dna strands ...
SO : it must cross the skin. Except if you're hurted, skin can't allow that.
Fortunately, upper layers of the skin are not nucleated anymore . So no intercalation.

If you licked your fingers, may be a problem.
As it's mutagenisc agent, you can't take a preventive treatment. it's also not a 100%-of-the-case issue.

You should advise youe work doctor or local health service.

Question : How have you been let doing this ? you don't have anyupervisor which told you EtBr is unsafety ????????????


As fred-33 said, it's unlikely to penetrate the skin, though some had told me that it will. Like any other chemicals in the lab, due care should be practised when handling them...

-I love MSGs!-

I wouldn't worry too much, most labs use far more dangerous stuff than EtBr regularly. Only thing that I really think is strange is that nobody told you how to work with EtBr safely???? What other chemicals are you working with? (not to scare you, but workin with chemicals requires training and at least someone should have told you how to work with them, if I see anyone do anything wrong I tell them even though I am by far not supervisor of anybody, if I would do something wrong I would love for other people to tell me for the sake of my own safety).


It is potentially mutagen!!! But is this fact not enough to work careful. When you have this on your fingers, you were also able to contaminate food...! Be careful in future times, now you are not able to reverse this. There are a few chemicals which could be very toxic (to be mentioned: Mercaptoethanol, Acrylamide, Phenol-containing solutions)

be aware!


Thanks everybodies for all this answers... I am a bit scared that I had contaminate my food also...but now I could not do anything... I heard that in 1960 nobody wear gloves when using EtBr... If it was as bad as what some people says why we do not have a biggest amount of cancer in biological practicer ?


Pages: 1 2 3 Next