Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log in with Windows Live Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Submit your paper to J Biol Methods today!
Photo
- - - - -

How dangerous is EtBr?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 L3mOn

L3mOn

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:45 PM

I recently added some EtBr powder to the EtBr solution to increase its concentration. I had on plastic gloves on top of latex gloves, so I suppose none of it got onto my hands. But I didn't put on the face mask, so I'm wondering if I could've inhaled some of those powder. How will I know if I did? I feel normal though so far...will there be any visible side effects? I'm pretty worried because of how serious people make EtBr sound. But in actual fact, how dangerous is it?

Thanks for reading this and your comments.

#2 LostintheLab

LostintheLab

    Enthusiast

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 62 posts
2
Neutral

Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:59 PM

I recently added some EtBr powder to the EtBr solution to increase its concentration. I had on plastic gloves on top of latex gloves, so I suppose none of it got onto my hands. But I didn't put on the face mask, so I'm wondering if I could've inhaled some of those powder. How will I know if I did? I feel normal though so far...will there be any visible side effects? I'm pretty worried because of how serious people make EtBr sound. But in actual fact, how dangerous is it?

Thanks for reading this and your comments.


http://www.sigmaaldr...playMSDSPage.do

Above is a link to the MSDS (medical safety data sheets) for Ethidium bromide. If you are feeling fine then probably it is ok- Ethidium bromide powder is an irritant. It is classed as highly toxic and has been shown to be a mutagen and tetragen so its important to follow the safety advice. As a liquid its doesn't penetrate seem to penetrate too far into the skin (or remain- due to the epidermal turnover). I can not comment on inhalation and absorbence of it into the mucosal epithelia. Were you working with this outside of the fume hood or in an enclosed space? these factors will change the risk....
Personally I've never used the powdered form- we ordered pre-made solutions so I can't comment thoroughly on the risk with powdered forms.
I knew it! I knew it! Well, not in the sense of having the slightest idea, but I knew there was something I didn't know.

#3 L3mOn

L3mOn

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 01 October 2009 - 10:11 PM

http://www.sigmaaldr...playMSDSPage.do

Above is a link to the MSDS (medical safety data sheets) for Ethidium bromide. If you are feeling fine then probably it is ok- Ethidium bromide powder is an irritant. It is classed as highly toxic and has been shown to be a mutagen and tetragen so its important to follow the safety advice. As a liquid its doesn't penetrate seem to penetrate too far into the skin (or remain- due to the epidermal turnover). I can not comment on inhalation and absorbence of it into the mucosal epithelia. Were you working with this outside of the fume hood or in an enclosed space? these factors will change the risk....
Personally I've never used the powdered form- we ordered pre-made solutions so I can't comment thoroughly on the risk with powdered forms.


No, I wasn't working in a fume hood or enclosed place. The EtBr solution was in a container with a lid, so I opened the lid slightly, scooped a bit of the EtBr powder and dropped it into the solution. Some of it dropped onto the benchtop though but I wiped it off quickly with 70% ethanol. Thanks for the site, I'll look it up.

#4 perneseblue

perneseblue

    Unlimited ligation works!

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 578 posts
17
Good

Posted 01 October 2009 - 11:28 PM

I recently added some EtBr powder to the EtBr solution to increase its concentration. I had on plastic gloves on top of latex gloves, so I suppose none of it got onto my hands. But I didn't put on the face mask, so I'm wondering if I could've inhaled some of those powder. How will I know if I did? I feel normal though so far...will there be any visible side effects? I'm pretty worried because of how serious people make EtBr sound. But in actual fact, how dangerous is it?

Thanks for reading this and your comments.


The answer is not very. The LD50 of EtBr is about 1503 mg/kg for rat (oral). So you can imagine how much EtBr is required to do harm to a 50 kg researcher. Furthermore the EtBr molecule is rather large and has difficulties crossing the skin. And historically EtBr (aka hofnium) was used (For a brief period) to treat human infections of trypanosomiasis and is still used in africa to treat animals for the same. The risk of EtBr is over inflated.

All the same, you should have been working in a fumehood. While EtBr may not do you much harm, other chemicals such as SDS powder and antibiotic powder (via sensitization) can.
May your PCR products be long, your protocols short and your boss on holiday

#5 L3mOn

L3mOn

    member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 01 October 2009 - 11:54 PM

The answer is not very. The LD50 of EtBr is about 1503 mg/kg for rat (oral). So you can imagine how much EtBr is required to do harm to a 50 kg researcher. Furthermore the EtBr molecule is rather large and has difficulties crossing the skin. And historically EtBr (aka hofnium) was used (For a brief period) to treat human infections of trypanosomiasis and is still used in africa to treat animals for the same. The risk of EtBr is over inflated.

All the same, you should have been working in a fumehood. While EtBr may not do you much harm, other chemicals such as SDS powder and antibiotic powder (via sensitization) can.


Phew! It's a relief to know that, thanks! Yeah, I should've worked in a fumehood. From now on, I'd stick to the liquid EtBr. ;)

#6 mdfenko

mdfenko

    an elder

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,799 posts
133
Excellent

Posted 02 October 2009 - 08:02 AM

also, look at this thread.
talent does what it can
genius does what it must
i do what i get paid to do

#7 hobglobin

hobglobin

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional...

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,539 posts
101
Excellent

Posted 02 October 2009 - 10:57 AM

Anyway I'd be careful with EtBr, both as fluid and powder (that I never would use, if there's no absolute need for it). Cattle (and other animals that might got it or was used as test animal) have to some degree different metabolisms and most important, live (compared to us) very short. But a scientist might have an exposure time of 20-40 years depended when you started and how long you work in the lab. About this long-term chronic effects no data are available (and I guess will never be).
As PhD or postdoc it might be negligible as one works with this stuff for some years, and then have an office job, but a technician perhaps really works the 20-40 years with it...so I'd try to minimise the contact as far as possible.

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#8 gleb.kudr

gleb.kudr

    Enthusiast

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 35 posts
0
Neutral

Posted 03 October 2009 - 02:56 AM

I heared previously EtBr were used as a drug for parasitical worms treatment :wacko: So it is not so dangerous as it considered to be.

Edited by gleb.kudr, 03 October 2009 - 02:58 AM.


#9 hobglobin

hobglobin

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional...

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,539 posts
101
Excellent

Posted 03 October 2009 - 05:23 AM

I heared previously EtBr were used as a drug for parasitical worms treatment :wacko: So it is not so dangerous as it considered to be.


But there might be a difference between chronic and acute toxicity...a reason not to underrate EtBr. Better be careful today, than to suffer later. Even if you can not diagnose the ultimate cause for the disease later.
Better safe than sorry...

One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

That is....if she posts at all.


#10 swanny

swanny

    Veteran

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 367 posts
8
Neutral

Posted 05 October 2009 - 05:35 PM

I heared previously EtBr were used as a drug for parasitical worms treatment :( So it is not so dangerous as it considered to be.


But there might be a difference between chronic and acute toxicity...a reason not to underrate EtBr. Better be careful today, than to suffer later. Even if you can not diagnose the ultimate cause for the disease later.
Better safe than sorry...

But surely, by now, there will be workers from the 70's and 80's who have had very prolonged exposures (or would they have all been promoted out of the lab?). Perhaps someone should do an epidemiology study on molecular biologists and cancers that may be lab-induced...
Heart disease kills more women than breast cancer, but heart attack symptoms differ from men's symptoms. Get to know your heart... it could save your life.




Home - About - Terms of Service - Privacy - Contact Us

©1999-2013 Protocol Online, All rights reserved.