Environmental Health & Safety

Ethidium Bromide Disposal


October 2012

Ethidium Bromide (EtBr)

Ethidium Bromide is a hazardous dye for visualizing nucleic acids in agarose gels. It is a mutagen requiring safe methods of disposal. Purchasing dye in solution reduces the hazards of use and handling, but safe and efficient disposal is required. Ethidium Bromide must be removed from solutions prior to disposal. Past decontamination methods such as an addition of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) are no longer recommended. MO BIO Laboratories now offers an easy and efficient method to remove ethidium bromide from solutions and gels for safe and easy disposal.

  • Goggles and Gloves required
    • Place the Ethidium Bromide "Destaining Absorbent Bag" into the (EtBr) solution and let in incubate for more than 12 hours.
      • Stirring will reduce time
      • Each bag will typically decontaminate 99% of the dye from 1 liter of a 0.5 µg/ml solution of EtBr.
After the above has been completed, the destaining bag can be disposed of a hazardous Waste, which can be incinerated by a licensed facility.
  • The remaining solution can now be disposed of down the laboratory sink drain to the sanitary sewer.
Do not re-use the bag as overloading the resin will occur, resulting in incomplete deconatmination of the solution.
 
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