Ethidium bromide

Wolfgang Schechinger wolfsc at
Thu Jul 19 21:02:57 EST 2001


> 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.

this is very good rule of thumb 

> If a safety person makes a recommendation, give it some heed. 


The problem with safety rules however is,  that their basis is 
not safety issues in the first instance but that nobody wants to 
take responsibility. I wouldn't be astouned when suddenly 
even deionized water gets some orange label.

Recently, I have disovered a dead head sign (poison) on a 
bottle with acetic acid (irritant and flammable is what I would 
expect to be there). The consequence is, that a newbie 
without a lot of practical experience will loose any sense for 
the real danger of chemicals. Where's the difference to the 
really toxic stuff now?
Of couse I would have a sip of conc HOAc or have a bath in it, 
but I wouldn't doubt that my body easily will detoxify an 
accidental breath of it (what I would doubt in the case of EtBr).

It seems to me there is a lot of hystery on lab hazards: 
micrograms of EtBr are detoxified (??) with grams of 
permanganate first using lots of HCl for acidification and the 
lots of NaOH for neutralization, potentiating the waste by 
magnitudes. But you have fulfilled the lab rule / satisfied the 
safety officer / peace of mind (!?)

One could continue almost endlessly.


[tiss mezzage wahs broduceRd using TYPO GENERATOR zoffwer]
Dr. Wolfgang Schechinger
Lab N233 (c/o Dr. Steve Roffler)
Institute of Biomedical Sciences
Academia Sinica
128 Yen-Chio Yuan Rd. Sec.2
Taipei 115
Taiwan R.O.C.
Tel +886-2-2789-9152
Fax +886-2-2782-9142
Mobile +886-925-136893
e mail wolfsc at ibms dot sinica dot edu dot tw


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