Ames test: Ethidium bromide

Warren Gallin wgallin at
Wed Jul 18 14:27:57 EST 2001

Michael Witty wrote:
> On Wed, 18 Jul 2001, David Micklem wrote:
> > Sodium azide: 2240/1ug (assayed without liver homogenate), which I had
> > no idea was anything other than acutely toxic and explosive. Guess I'll
> > take more care with it in future (not that I use it often...)
> My library research for sodium azide, looking for something like
> epidemiological data, showed that when people wanted to do themselves
> _intentional_ harm ingestion of 20 grams was sometimes and sometimes not
> fatal.  My safety officer was _still_ not happy with the idea of me
> using 0.02% sodium azide in roughly 1ml aliquots and talked, in a pretty
> dopy way, about the danger of explosive residues.

Actually, not so dopey.  Azide forms explosive complexes with metals. 
So if you are flushing azide down a sink with metal plumbing, over a
period of time a nasty explosive will build up in the traps.  The poor
plumber who cracks one of them can have a small grenade going off in
his/her face.  This has actually happened, so not a theoretical
consideration at all.

Also, azide inhibits electron transport chains quite effectively (that's
why you use it after all) so it's worth being careful with for two reasons.

Warren Gallin

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