EtBr safety procedures

R.G. Walters mbrgw at s-crim1.dl.ac.uk
Tue Jun 15 06:13:05 EST 1993


In article <1993Jun15.010352.22996 at cc.umontreal.ca> coady at ERE.UMontreal.CA (Michael Coady) writes:
>The discussion on the disposal of ethidium bromide echoed in my mind
>the other afternoon as I was cutting out of the building.  Walking
>down one hallway, I passed a room where the lights were turned off
>and where a graduate student was standing over a UV box, gowned,
>gloved and wearing protective eyegear while standing over her gel 
>on the UV box.  What gave me pause was that the UV light box was on
>a table right beside the door, where everybody walking past was 
>bound to peer in.  Granted, the passersby get a brief exposure to the
>UV, and the strength of the light attenuates quickly with distance,
>but I was curious to know what the rest of you think about this.
>How dangerous is it to have your light source briefly being exposed
>to the naked eyes of passersby?

If the passer-by is me, very dangerous. You'll get a severe B$%^&*&^$%ing, if
nothing else. Contrary to another poster's belief, although the acute effects
of 254nm UV are relatively short-lived, there are _cumulative_ irreversible
effects on the cornea.  Give someone enough UV now, and they'll get cataracts
later in life.

Robin Walters.                      Robert Hill Institute, Sheffield UK.

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