RE to Jim 3975 - Strong contamination with ethidium bromide

Jim 3975 via (by jim3975 from
Sat Jun 9 04:46:06 EST 2007

Hi Piero,
Well I have been working with EBr in a rather sloppy way (some of my 
colleagues would use stronger terms) since like thirty years. 'Finger 
cancer' (as someone else in this thread called it) is  not among the 
problems I currently have, nor of any of my lab colleagues. (I must say I 
took care never to ingest any, I mean washing my hands before eating etc. )

My reference to the PNAS paper was as sloppy as my way of working with EBr. 
The paper mentions Ebr, but not cigarette smoke. That must have been  a 
different paper, I can't find it right now.
Even if carcinogenity would be similar, it would be odd - just as you are 
correctly pointing out - to panick about having smoked  say, 50 cigarettes 
_only one time_.

BTW, it is funny that there do not seem to be reports of studies of the 
effect of EtBr on animals. After all, strong mutagens can be helpful in 
cancer studies.

"Prof. Piero Sestili" <sestili from> wrote in message 
news:mailman.1419.1181314246.5139.methods from
> Dear Jim 3975,
> of course, and as anybody in this field knows, you're right: my story
> was simply to tranquillize this poor undergraduate student...I think
> that your intervention got the opposite result!  Another very relevant
> aspect of this specific case (mine and undergraduate's one) is that we
> are speaking of a SINGLE exposure, far less effective in terms of
> carcinogenicity as compared to CHRONIC exposure.
> By the way, if there's anybody who stained his hands with EB more than
> 16 years ago, please come on and tell us your story!
> Prof. Piero Sestili
> Istituto di Farmacologia e Farmacognosia e
> Centro di Ricerca sull'Attività Motoria
> Università degli Studi di Urbino "Carlo Bo"
> Via "I Maggetti" 26
> 61029 URBINO (PU)
> Tel. 0722 303414; 0722 305524
> Fax 0722 303401
> -----Messaggio originale-----
> Da: methods-bounces from
> [mailto:methods-bounces from] Per conto di Jim 3975
> Inviato: giovedì 7 giugno 2007 22.00
> A: methods from
> Oggetto: Re: Strong contamination with ethidium bromide
> To get cancer, 16 years is nothing. People who start smoking at 16 don't
> get
> lung cancer until 40, 50 years later. (Average age of lung cancer death
> is
> ~70)
> Bruce Ames showed in a PNAS paper in the seventies that smoking is more
> mutagenic than ethidum bromide (using fairly realistic doses of both).
>>"Prof. Piero Sestili" <sestili from> wrote in message
>>news:mailman.1372.1181135432.5139.methods from
>>Nothing to do with the past contamination!  Probably few EB molecules
>>penetrated to the germinative layer of your skin and most of it was
>>cleared by corneum.  Just forget it!  16 years ago I noticed an EB
> stain
>>on my right hand, due to unexpectedly broken gloves: I'm still here,
>>writing with the same hand....
>>For the future simply wear two pairs of lattice gloves when using EB:
>>normal gloves do not protect so much...and go on with your PhD
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