Ethidium Bromide Spills

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Ethidium Bromide Spill

Ethidium bromide is a potent tumorigen. When handling ethidium bromide it is imperative that no skin contact occurs and thorough hand-washing is performed after handling. In case of a small spill:

  • Absorb freestanding liquid with a compatible absorbent material.
  • Use ultraviolet light to locate the location of the spill material.
  • Prepare decontamination solution by mixing 4.2 grams of sodium nitrite and 20 mL of hypophosphorous acid (50%) in 300 mL of water.
  • Wash the spill area with a paper towel soaked in the decontamination solution. Wash the spill area five more times with paper towels that have been soaked in the decontamination solution (using fresh paper towels each time).
  • After cleaning the area put all the used towels in the decontamination solution for 1 hour.
  • Check the completeness of decontamination using an ultraviolet light.
  • When the decontamination procedure is complete, transfer all the decontamination solution to an appropriately labeled waste container. Call the OEHS for waste pick-up.

Contaminated Equipment

To clean contaminated equipment: Laboratory equipment (e.g. transilluminators, laboratory floors and countertops, etc.) contaminated with aqueous solutions of more than 10 mg/L (0.01 %) EtBr should be decontaminated using the spill clean-up procedures listed above.