EtBr , How do you get rid of it?

J.Carnwath carnwath at
Mon Mar 13 15:43:39 EST 1995

In my opinion, the best (not cheapest but perhaps easiest) way to dispose
of ethidium bromide solutions is to make a big column with several
kilograms of Amberlite XAD-16 available from SERVA, from Rohm & Hass and
probably others. 

We did this two years ago and pour all waste ethidium bromide solutions
(mostly running buffer or staining solution) through it.  The bromophenol
blue from the loading buffer which stains the upper part of the column
gives some indication of how much of the column is saturated.  After two 
years as only the upper 25 cm has any blue color. 

Our column has a diameter of 9 cm and contains 70 cm of Amberlite with 20
cm of free space on top which is enough space to contain the running
buffer from one gel chamber.  A plastic tube with 4 mm internal diameter
leads from the bottom of the column up the outside to the level of the 
Amberlite before leading into the drain so that the fluid level 
remains just above the Amberlite and prevents it from drying out.

Eventually, the contaminated Amberlite will have to be dried and sent to 
a burning facility but we have to do that with other chemical waste 
like phenol anyway.

If you ask Sigma, at least in Germany, they give you two references:

1) The danger of using sodium hypochlorite on Ethidium Bromide:
	Trends in Genetics 4: 89-90 (1988)

2) A method of disposal:  Anal. Biochem. 162: 453-458 (1987) 


: >Subject: EtBr , How do you get rid of it?
: >Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 21:27:24 cst
: >Keywords: Mutagenic
: >I understand that EtBr is mutagenic. Does it pose any hazards to living cells,
: >and what is a good way to get rid of it safely? Is dilution the solution to 
: >pollution??????
: >Claude Baker
: Good question!  Any environmental health and safety (EH & S) officials 
: reading this?  Any good answers?
: Anyways, how is EtBr made commercially?  
: How do the companies that make the stuff say to dispose of it?
: Is it found in nature?
: Greg Shen
Joe Carnwath					  carnwath at
Institut fuer Tierzucht und Tierverhalten	 Tel: + (5034) 871134
Mariensee, 31535 Neustadt, Germany		 Fax: + (5034) 871143

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