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Whoops, EthBr all over the shop...

Csaba Jeney jencsa at net.sote.hu
Mon Dec 18 07:05:22 EST 1995

jpcd0 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk (John Dixon) wrote:

>Has anyone out there got any suggestions of how to remove large amounts
>(50mls or so!) of ethidium bromide 10mgs/ml from vinyl type lab floor, now
>thoroughly stained, and much more importantly can anyone recommend how to
>wash 10mls or so out of a much loved pair of Levi's 501s? Maniatis has
>nothing in the index about decontaminating denim!


>John (on behalf of a somewhat embarassed lab member currently mopping the
>floor furiously, with only a lab coat to hide his modesty, not looking
>forward to walking home trouserless in sub-zero Cambridge)

>John Dixon                                        Lab 44 (1223) 334131
>Wellcome/CRC Institute                            Fax 44 (1223) 334134
>Department of Genetics
>Cambridge University    
>United Kingdom                           e-m: jpcd0 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk

Be careful with bleach, I've read (in Maniatis) that this stuff can
convert EthBr to a more mutagenic compound. There is a fairly high
probability that the EthBr can accumulate in the body (or the effect
can accumulates), so low concentrations over a long period of time has
a similar effect than high concentrations in a more acute fashion. So
I may discard the jeans. As far as I know there are reports on
hepatocellular carcinomas that were maybe associated with EtBr usage
(Pasteur Institute ???). Be careful, I feel so that EthBr is the most
signifiant chemical hazard causing compound in every molecular biology
lab. You may think over that it is a general habbit (as far as I know)
that almost nobody wipe off the EtBr wetted surfaceses in a dark room,
during extensive usage and a long period of time significant EtBr
concentration can build up in dust...and you can breath that dust
in....so do not push your bad luck.
...finally my guess about how to remove:
1. activated charcoal slurry
2. alcohol to wipe off
3. checking out with some DNA solution and with a UV lamp what is the
result ( I feel so that the biofilm on the floor can prevent the
complete removal of the EtBr, but ... I do not hope so)


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