EtBr safety procedures

Paul N Hengen pnh at
Tue Jun 15 10:07:22 EST 1993

In article <9306150423.AA22953 at>
 Klaus.Matthaei at writes:

>>How dangerous is it to have your light source briefly being exposed
>>to the naked eyes of passersby?
>                 ....I cut out a band from an agarose gel without ANY
>eyeprotection.  It probably took a few minutes (the DNA didn't clone well
>either because I took so long and I also got a good case of sunburn).  The
>only effect I had was that it felt that I had sand in my eyes for a few
>days afterwards and then they returned to normal.  Now probably 12 years
>later I am told I still have 20/20 vision without any detrimental effects. 
>I don't recommend doing it of course but it may not be as dangerous as
>sometimes thought and certainly not a fleeting glance from a hallway.

The glance will probably not expose you any more than a full day at the
beach with your eyes closed, and certainly not as much as an arc welder
gets from 8 hours of work with headgear in place. To be on the safer side
of things, I've always closed the door and blocked the UV lamp with my body
if someone looked in to see what I was doing in there.

Paul N. Hengen
National Cancer Institute
Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center
Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201 USA

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