Ethidium bromide decontamination

M. Johan Broekman hanbroekman at csi.com
Fri Mar 12 21:13:27 EST 1999

George Rutherford wrote:

> In article <lederer-1203991808110001 at iau60a.ak-i.med.uni-muenchen.de>,
> lederer at pk-i.med.uni-muenchen.de (Erich) wrote:
> > How do do decontaminate ethidium bromide bound in gels ?
> >
> > I use do document my PCR  results by staining the agarose gels in an
> > Etbr-bath.I decontaminate the staining solution by filtering it through
> > carcoal and dispose the carcoal in a hazardous waste - bag which then goes
> > thermal incineration (<262 °C).
> > But how do do treat your gels, gloves and cleaning tissues which may
> > contain traces of Etbr ?
> > Any suggestions appreciated - thanks
> Although I hate to say it, the only practical and environmentally correct
> thing to do is to toss all of these items in the hazardous waste. I
> realize that this is expensive and not all that environmentally, but it's
> about the only answer.
> George

I recall an old thread about EtBr and how to get rid of it.  One person inquired
of the Municipal authorities in I believe Glasgow or Edinburgh in charge of
sewage, and they (as I recall) said rinse it down the drain.  Another person
mentioned that EtBr is used during sheepshearing to disinfect any cuts the
animal gets with a brush loaded with EtBr.  Check your wool clothing for EtBr
(This is meant as a joke).

Upshot (personal opinion):  Dispose of properly, but don't go bananas.
Han Broekman

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