Ethidium bromide and clothes

brett brett at BORCIM.WUSTL.EDU
Mon Feb 12 22:27:20 EST 1996

>hopkinsc at (Hopkins, Charlotte) wrote:
>>Can anyone help me please.  I spilt 0.5x TBE buffer containing Ethidium 
>>Bromide (200mg in 2.5 litres) on myself the other day.   The jeans went into 
>>the wash for a couple of cycles as soon as they could.  Does anyone know if 
>>they will be alright to wear, or should I just throw them away?  My inital 
>>response was they should be OK as Ethidium binds to DNA not cotton.  What do 
>>you think?
>>Many thanks 
>>Charlotte Cameron
>>Hopkinsc at
>Hi Charlotte,
>   This problem came up a couple of months ago who posted a similar mishap,
>and the best solution was .... toss the jeans. A means t=
>o remove ethidium bromide from solution is to mix with activated charcoal ...
>the mutagen is bound to the carbon and the solution ca=
>n be filtered then the charcoal is tossed into the mutagen waste and the
>solution down the sink.  It may (quess here) have been poss=
>ible to cover the "stained" spot with a suspension of charcoal but there
>wouldn't be any guarantee that all the ethidium had been re=
>  Hopefully not an expensive lesson but I advise people in my lab - Old
>clothes and labcoats around "nasty stuff".

I also contaminated an article of clothing once, in my case a brand new
t-shirt from my vacation. I wasn't about to part with it, so I scrubbed it,
and used a mild bleach solution, recalling the use of hypochlorite in
decontaminating EtBr (I know, this is of controversial utility). Then I put
it through 3 washes. No flourescence was detectable under intense UV
scrutiny, so I continue to wear the shirt. No strange growths noticed yet
(excluding my head).

Brett Lindenbach
Program in Immunology                              
Washington University - St Louis                  
brett at                             

"I own my own pet virus. I get to pet and name her." - Cobain

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