Ethidium bromide

dbell dbell at
Thu Jul 19 10:45:41 EST 2001

There are a lot of chemicals around the lab that young, inexperienced 
people need to be educated about.  The only place they have to go is the 
MSDS or experienced lab partners / supervisors.

I think sometimes MSDSs don't communicate the appropriate hazard levels for 
certain substances (especially when they have us "over-protected" with 
goggles and gloves to pour diWater).  So they get us over-reacting to 
certain chemicals, and at the same time ignoring precautions for truely 
hazardous substances.  How many of you have built up sensitivities to lab 
detergents? SDS?  Even if a substance is "only" an irritant - I don't like 
running around with irritated skin all the time.

One of my "general rules" is this: if a substance reacts with nucleic acids 
or proteins - give it some respect.  When in doubt or ignorant of 
something, be cautious - not careless.

If a safety person makes a recommendation, give it some heed.  They are a 
specialist in their field and you would be offended if they called you 
dopey if you warned them about something in your area of expertise.  My 
supervisor had the whole "sodium azide-grenade" thing happen where he was 
doing some reserch many years ago.

In the words of Forrest Gump - That's all I have to say about that!
Deanne Bell
USDA Agricultural Research Service
2021 South Peach Avenue
Fresno, CA 93727
(559) 453-3170
(559) 453-3088 fax

On Wednesday, July 18, 2001 2:07 PM, Nick Theodorakis 
[SMTP:nicholas_theodorakis at] wrote:
: In
: <Pine.SGI.4.33.0107182118570.2615940-100000 at>,
: Michael Witty wrote:
: >
: >On Wed, 18 Jul 2001, Warren Gallin wrote:
: >> 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.
: >
: >Dear Warren,
: >            please let me know about the paper or news report that has
: >described these two kinds of accident.  I really am interested in
: >collecting examples of this kind of thing happening.
: >Mike.
: >
: This is the closest thing I could find:
: I also found reports of lab accidents with azides, eg. see:
: and a report of a large drum of azide waste exploding:
: (N.B.: that's the Cincinnati Enquirer, not the National Enquirer)
: These incidents seem to happen with relatively large amounts of azide in
: use.
: Note also, however, that even sodium azide is explosive when heated or
: concussed;  it's used to inflae air bags, e.g.
: Nick
: PS: air drain pipes still made from lead or copper?
: --
: Nick Theodorakis
: nicholas_theodorakis at


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