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EtBR Ethidium Bromide Inhilation


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7 replies to this topic

#1 mrca

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:14 AM

Hi

I am a research PhD student at UKC and we run gels by melting the agarose and adding the EtBr. One time I added the EtBr too early and poured the gel. There was a lot of steam and I inhaled some of it. Does EtBr vapourise into the steam?

I am a little concerned as I have a severe cough (started as sore throat and developed) now that I did not have before and wondered if it was a coincidence. My GP looked blank at me when I mentioned it.

Am I being paranoid?!

Thanks

#2 perneseblue

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:43 AM

Hi

I am a research PhD student at UKC and we run gels by melting the agarose and adding the EtBr. One time I added the EtBr too early and poured the gel. There was a lot of steam and I inhaled some of it. Does EtBr vapourise into the steam?

I am a little concerned as I have a severe cough (started as sore throat and developed) now that I did not have before and wondered if it was a coincidence. My GP looked blank at me when I mentioned it.

Am I being paranoid?!

Thanks


No. EtBr will not vapourise at 100 Celsius. Its MW give a much higher boiling temperature. It might be possible that you inhaled droplets that did contain EtBr. However the danger of EtBr is greatly over stated. The amount of EtBr used is in the lab is far far lower than would be toxic. So a few drops of diluted solution will not cause any harm.

You might have injured your throat from breathing in steam. However I am sure you would realized if burns were received. So it is likely that this is coincidence and you just caught a cold.
May your PCR products be long, your protocols short and your boss on holiday

#3 microgirl

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:15 AM

I always add my EtBr immediately after melting the agarose and probably inhale the steam too! Don't worry!

#4 Dr Teeth

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:45 AM

I always add my EtBr immediately after melting the agarose and probably inhale the steam too! Don't worry!


Any scientist worth his salt, should read his MSDS's prior to use.
For Ethidium bromide, (http://www.jtbaker.c...hhtml/e2410.htm)
or (http://www.biosci.oh...CHEMICAL --.htm)

Of note, under inhalation are the comments
Inhalation:
If inhaled, remove to fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration.
If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. CALL A PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY.

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Toxic gases and vapors may be released if involved in a fire. Oxides of nitrogen, oxides of carbon, hydrogen bromide.

Conditions to Avoid:
Heat, flames, ignition sources and incompatibles.

EMITS TOXIC FUMES OF:CARBON MONOXIDE, CARBON DIOXIDE,
NITROGEN OXIDES, HYDROGEN BROMIDE GAS UNDER FIRE CONDITIONS


Some boiling agarose is not the same as the level of heat during fire conditions, and the risk of ethidium bromide is overstated by many professionals, so I wouldn't worry overmuch at this point. But lab safety is no joke and people should be more aware of the reagents they use.

Edited by Dr Teeth, 12 March 2009 - 11:47 AM.


Science is simply common sense at its best that is rigidly accurate in observation and merciless to fallacy in logic.
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#5 HomeBrew

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 06:28 PM

To keep the MSDS language in context:

Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES; LAB COAT

Fire Extinguishing Media:
Use extinguishing media appropriate for surrounding fire.

Special Information:
In the event of a fire, wear full protective clothing and NIOSH-approved self-contained breathing apparatus with full facepiece operated in the pressure demand or other positive pressure mode.

7. Handling and Storage

Keep container tightly closed. Suitable for any general chemical storage area. Protect from freezing. ***** is considered a non-regulated product, but may react vigorously with some specific materials. Avoid contact with all materials until investigation shows substance is compatible.

13. Disposal Considerations

Whatever cannot be saved for recovery or recycling should be flushed to sewer. If material becomes contaminated during use, dispose of accordingly. Dispose of container and unused contents in accordance with federal, state and local requirements.


From the MSDS for water... :lol:

#6 casandra

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:09 PM

To keep the MSDS language in context:

Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES; LAB COAT

Fire Extinguishing Media:
Use extinguishing media appropriate for surrounding fire.

Special Information:
In the event of a fire, wear full protective clothing and NIOSH-approved self-contained breathing apparatus with full facepiece operated in the pressure demand or other positive pressure mode.

7. Handling and Storage

Keep container tightly closed. Suitable for any general chemical storage area. Protect from freezing. ***** is considered a non-regulated product, but may react vigorously with some specific materials. Avoid contact with all materials until investigation shows substance is compatible.

13. Disposal Considerations

Whatever cannot be saved for recovery or recycling should be flushed to sewer. If material becomes contaminated during use, dispose of accordingly. Dispose of container and unused contents in accordance with federal, state and local requirements.


From the MSDS for water... :)

:lol: I must have read this 10 times and I still didn't get it completely...didn't realise that water causes fire...there's a lot of misinformation here or a neat puzzle....
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#7 little mouse

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 01:53 AM

If you don't know what to do, you ask people to take as much precautions as possible, so you won't be responsable if something bad happens.
so, keep your boiling EtBr under a hood. However, if you accidentally breath vapours, don't panic. There is no studies that demonstrated some illness due to EtBr.
Just be careful.

#8 HomeBrew

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 05:06 AM

Or, just eliminate the vapor hazard (such as it is) by not adding EtBr to your molten agarose, and instead staining your gel after the run.

As an aside, I've never seen the benefit of adding EtBr to the molten agarose versus staining the gel after the run. In fact, I don't recall ever doing it this way, going on twenty years now...




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