Ames test: Ethidium bromide

Dr. Duncan Clark news at
Thu Jul 19 06:59:44 EST 2001

In article <180720011533391900%dmicklem at cmgm.nospam.invalid>, the
eminent David Micklem at University of Cambridge, England wrote
>Take care out there, and watch out for UV-gelbox-burn,

Now I have a tale to tell here. 

Once upon a time, a long long time ago in a lab far away, in the first
few days of my first commercial job I had to run an agarose gel for the
assay of RE's. Being a newbie I put on the safety specs there looked
long and hard at my gel and went home happy. At about 11pm that evening,
on my own in a flat in London with my eyes streaming and barely able to
seek, I managed to find the phone and phone a friend on the other side
of London to get me a taxi to take me to the London eye hospital. The
specs I had used, unknown to me, where not UV resistant. I had  very
badly sunburnt my eyes. By 2am that morning I was totally blind for a
further 8 hours. Imagine sticking hot needles in your eyes and that is
how painful it is.

No long term damage other than I now don't like bright sunlight.

An easy test to see if you have got a mild case is to look at a UK
orange neon street lamp. If it has a round hazy looking cloud around it
then you have sunburnt eyes.

Despite my co-workers knowing this an experienced sensible post-doc
managed to come in a few months ago looking like a panda with white eyes
and a bright pink face. She had been gel purifying the previous day and
despite there being three full face masks by the transilluminator, she
just wore UV safety specs or goggles and sunburnt the rest of her face.
She was a little shocked at how little time was needed to cause this.

So take care

It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really
quite busy.

Duncan Clark
GeneSys Ltd.
Tel. +44 (0) 1252376288
FAX +44 (0) 8701640382

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