RE to Jim 3975 - Strong contamination with ethidium bromide

Jayakumar, R via (by R.Jayakumar from
Mon Jun 11 11:42:33 EST 2007

Acrylamide.  I remember at least one case of a faculty who developed
paralysis of his lower limbs which was linked to acrylamide poisoning.
I knew this person sort of during my studies in India.  He was a junior
level faculty in the 80s in Kerala University, in the state of kerala,
India and was routinely handling acrylamide and gels with his bare hands
and demonstrated SDS-PAGE to students.  After about 10-15 years,
sometime during 1994-1996, he developed paralysis (irreversible) below
his waist.  This case was well publisized in newspapers in southern
India (my mother got really worried reading that :-)), because the
doctors (I don't rememeber exactly, but I believe in his spinal cord),
discovered the presence of methylated cytosines and attributed it to
acrylamide acute poisoning.
   Polymerized acrylamide may not be dangerous but not the unpolymerized
monomers still stuck on the surface.  Why take the risk, when a simple
gloves and some practices like that can safeguard you.  Or you may
become a guinea pig for future people to study.

-----Original Message-----
From: methods-bounces from
[mailto:methods-bounces from] On Behalf Of DK
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 9:38 PM
To: methods from
Subject: Re: RE to Jim 3975 - Strong contamination with ethidium bromide

In article <1181318252.993588.241960 from>,
peter <peter.ianakiev from> wrote:

>EtBr is overrated IMHO, Friend of mine spilled about 250ml on himself, 
>did not change clothes for a few hours and 14 years later he is fine, 
>has 3 children and all is as normal as it can be.

Lotsa examples like that. It certainly never occured to me to wear
gloves when I was handling a lot of ethidium and propidium bromides some
20 years ago. No spills that I know off, though. 

>Don't stress
>yourselves with EtBr/gloves etc. In my experience most contaminations 
>happened when people wore gloves....


>just wear gloves when handle acrilamide , DMSO, PMSF etc.

What's wrong with DMSO? Sure, it goes through the skin easily and all
that but on its own it is pretty harmless. The danger is there only when
handling toxins dissolved in DMSO, I think. 

Half the same goes to acrylamide. When a gel is poured and handled
properly, there is zero chance to ever come in contact with it. If,
however, you accidentally spilled few ul or ml on a skin - just wash it
off right away and no harm will ever be done. Paying attention is 1000X
safer than wearing gloves (which should only be worn when contact is
either inevitable or deadly).


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