Etbr panic!!!! Help

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Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby pat992 » Jun 02 2016 10:21 am

Hey there,
i'm kinda new in this field.

Yesterday i was doing some gel (TAE 50 ml + 5 microlitros of Etbr (10mg/ml)) and after remove te gel from the ballon, i drop it on the floor. While taken the glass I cut my glove and a little bit of the skin (no blood, just superficial). Now i'm scared to death.

Can anyone help me with it? It's a justified scare? Over-thinking?

Thanks for advanced.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby r.rosati » Jun 02 2016 8:30 pm

Hey pat,
I'd say there are no worries specifically for your contact with EtBr. You can read this blog post if you want to feel better; the take-home message is that the concentration and quantity of EtBr you might have had contact with are very likely negligible in terms of risk.
Now of course for the mandatory disclaimers, (1) this is my personal opinion and (2) if you believe the glass might be contaminated with a biological agent, that's another kind of risk and you should report the incident.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby relaxin » Jun 03 2016 3:56 pm

You should be fine. There is very little amount of EtBr can get on your skin.

Remember that if any kind of spill occurs next time, wash the affected area immediately wish soap and lots of water. If you are accident-prone, have some band-aids, eye goggles, and a spare set of clothing in the lab.
Retired academic researcher. Mention of a specific product does not imply my endorsement of the product. No conflict of interest or guarantee to work on the advice given. Do as I say, not as I do. Not liable to the loss of your valuable samples.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby jwb » Jun 03 2016 9:04 pm

I can't believe the scale of paranoia about EtBr being a potential carcinogen. I usually handle agarose gels without gloves , and people stare open-mouthed at me, as if I'll suddenly fall dead.

I once got hold of the article r.rosati has linked to, and another similar article, and forwarded it to my PI and some other friends. Not one of them said anything to me or attempted to have a discussion. I know a couple of them opened it and tried to read it.

Incidentally, I also happen to know people who are absolutely terrified of EtBr but are heavy smokers. :lol:
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby mchlbrmn » Jun 04 2016 2:24 am

r.rosati wrote:Hey pat,
I'd say there are no worries specifically for your contact with EtBr. You can read this blog post if you want to feel better; the take-home message is that the concentration and quantity of EtBr you might have had contact with are very likely negligible in terms of risk.
Now of course for the mandatory disclaimers, (1) this is my personal opinion and (2) if you believe the glass might be contaminated with a biological agent, that's another kind of risk and you should report the incident.

I read the article the link was for.
It's frightening:
Code: Select all
A 50kg researcher would need to drink 50,000 liters of gel-staining solution to get even the non-toxic dose used in cattle.
I could get hyponatremia! Or drown!
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby tfitzwater » Jun 06 2016 2:46 pm

Dentists apply a red stain to teeth in order to stain plaque. That dye is ethidium bromide.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby mchlbrmn » Jun 08 2016 2:16 am

tfitzwater wrote:Dentists apply a red stain to teeth in order to stain plaque. That dye is ethidium bromide.

Really?? That's interesting.
Sorry for being so faithless, I searched the web and found on Wikipedia (source of all knowledge), Plaque 'disclosing tablets' are made from "(typically a vegetable dye, such as Phloxine B)". Then I checked Pubmed about plaque staining EtBr, and found a report using Fluorescein and Ethidium Bromide to stain biofilms that mentions mutagenicity issues, and how they are probably overblown. It quotes Wikipedia on the last point.
(BMC Oral Health Open Peer Review reports, Lutz Netuschil et al.)
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby sile88314 » Jun 09 2016 8:34 am

tfitzwater wrote:Dentists apply a red stain to teeth in order to stain plaque. That dye is ethidium bromide.

What are you talking about?! My girlfriend is a dentist and she never told me that they us EB for teeth staining! you must be joking, do you ? :wink:
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby tfitzwater » Jun 09 2016 3:07 pm

I should clarify my posting. EtBr is no longer used to stain plaque. But it was used historically.

Netuschil, L., 1983. Vital staining of plaque microorganisms using fluorescein diacetate and ethidium bromide. Dtsch Zahnarztl Z. 38(10):914-917. (Red tablets used to illuminate plaque remaining after tooth brushing contained ethidium bromide.) 01.28.05: May actually use erythrosine now, rather than ethidium bromide.

Ethidium Bromide in the Modified Ames Test
McCann, J., Choi, E., Yamasaki, E. & Ames, B.N. (1975) Detection of carcinogens as mutagens in the Salmonella/microsome test: Assay of 300 chemicals. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 72(12):5135-5139, Table 1
This is the modified Ames test that measures revertants of special salmonella strains in the presence of activated rat liver extracts. It isn't really testing mutagenicity/carcinogenicity in mammals.

Ethidium bromide (A44): 202.4 revertants/ug
Sodium azide (K11) : 2240 (but of course its also poisonous....)
daunorubicin (H12): 630
Aflotoxin b1 (H1): 22,600
Cigarette condensate (I1): 18,200 (revertants per cigarette).
If the drip contains _all_ the ethidium in the gel, then it is enough to give as many revertants as half a cigarette in the modified Ames test

If we assume that there is about 10 - 50 ug of ethidium bromide (capable of generating 2000-10000 revertants) in a large agarose gel, then you could eat the entire gel and consume less mutagen than you would ingest by smoking one cigarette. I do not recommend eating ethidium-stained gels. As always, you should minimize your exposure to all of the chemicals in the lab.

This material is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby pat992 » Jul 16 2016 6:15 pm

Thanks for the answers!

After my panic, I start to think about my stuff. Sometimes I see me nephews. One time or two, they like to play with my identidy card from the lab. I'm thinking... They are in some kinda risk?

No direct contact with the card, I think. Just to in and out the lab.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby mdfenko » Jul 18 2016 11:46 am

pat992 wrote:Thanks for the answers!

After my panic, I start to think about my stuff. Sometimes I see me nephews. One time or two, they like to play with my identidy card from the lab. I'm thinking... They are in some kinda risk?

No direct contact with the card, I think. Just to in and out the lab.

not unless you are spilling on, splashing or dipping the card with hazardous materials. if it hasn't made you sick then it probably won't affect your nephews.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby tfitzwater » Jul 18 2016 3:43 pm

As a comparison to identity cards, I am posting this UK study on cell phones. So, technically, it might be possible for ID cards to contain lab material?


Study: 1 in 6 Cell Phones Contaminated With Fecal Matter

By Sora Song @sora_songOct. 17, 2011

Follow @TIMEHealth

What’s on your smartphone? Probably fecal matter, according to new research by London scientists.

That’s right, poop — on your phone. If it’s on your phone, it’s very likely on your hands too, say researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London.

Researchers analyzed 780 swab samples — 390 from mobile phones and 390 from the hands that used them — in 12 U.K. cities. They found that 16% of both hands and phones were contaminated with E. coli, potentially illness-causing bacteria that is fecal in origin. The likely reason: because people don’t wash their hands after using the toilet.

That means people are spreading fecal bacteria not just to their phones, but to everything else they touch around them. E. coli can survive on hands and other surfaces for hours, especially in warm conditions (like on a smartphone screen), and is easily transferred to door handles, computer keyboards, food, other people — and back to you. If you contaminate your iPhone with fecal bacteria, then wash your hands, then handle your phone again, you’ve just re-soiled your clean hands.

Overall, the researchers found that 92% of hands and 82% of phones showed some type of bacterial contamination. About a third of hands and a quarter of phones contained Staphylococcus aureus, common bacteria that live on skin but can cause illness if they enter the bloodstream.

When surveyed, however, 95% of people said they washed their hands with soap. “People may claim they wash their hands regularly, but the science shows otherwise,” said study co-author Dr. Ron Cutler of Queen Mary, University of London in a statement.

Two guesses who the nastier gender is. “In previous studies, we found that men’s hands were more contaminated than women’s, and also that men wash hands less often than women in public restrooms,” says Dr. Val Curtis of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

People in the current study who had bacteria on their hands were three times more likely to have contaminated phones as well. The findings don’t mean that your cell phone is necessarily a hotbed of disease, but that it could be. “The bugs we found are more or less harmless,” says Curtis, but notes that the presence of fecal bacteria like E. coli means that if “someone was ill, then they would be likely to transmit pathogens to others.” Other bugs like campylobacter, norovirus and salmonella, which are more likely to cause illness, can also be passed through feces.

The current study was conducted in Brits, but there’s not much reason to think Americans are any more hygienic. And mobile phones are hardly the only objects teeming with bugs around you. Stop and think about every place scientists have ever turned up fecal bacteria — grocery store carts, swimming pools, fast-food restaurant soda fountains and kids’ play areas, ATM keypads, your purse, your washing machine, prewashed salad greens, food court trays, and pretty much everything in a hotel room — and it makes it hard to lay your hands on anything again.

But before you swaddle yourself in a hazmat suit, remember there’s actually an easy way to avoid infection: wash your hands, especially after you use the bathroom. (If you think your hands haven’t been contaminated after using the toilet because you didn’t touch anything in there, think again.) Need a primer on hand washing? Use soap and water to clean all surfaces of your hands, including between your fingers and under your nails. Wash for 20 seconds. Don’t touch anything in public bathrooms, if you can help it. Use paper towels to turn the faucets and to open the door. If you don’t have access to soap and water, then at least use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The authors of the new study say they will submit their paper for publication, following further analysis of the types of phones and users sampled and more detailed bacterial and viral profiling.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby pat992 » Jul 20 2016 6:00 pm

mdfenko wrote:
pat992 wrote:Thanks for the answers!

After my panic, I start to think about my stuff. Sometimes I see me nephews. One time or two, they like to play with my identidy card from the lab. I'm thinking... They are in some kinda risk?

No direct contact with the card, I think. Just to in and out the lab.

not unless you are spilling on, splashing or dipping the card with hazardous materials. if it hasn't made you sick then it probably won't affect your nephews.



No, I can't tell if I ever touch things with gloves, in the case of the card. My laptop if away and I never use it with gloves. My concerns is about the future.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby mchlbrmn » Jul 20 2016 7:38 pm

I would not worry much about your identity card contaminating your nephews. Yes, give it a wash since you think of it, but you say, "No direct contact with the card, I think. Just to in and out the lab.", so I think that you yourself, doing the work and breathing the air, are at far greater risk than a nephew why touched a card that had merely been in the room of the work.
I was going to add that lab workers were not at greater risk of cancer, but I did a quick search and found a study that found that while they were actually at lower risk than the general public, male biology research workers were at slightly increased cancer risk than unexposed research personnel. Why specifically male researchers? perhaps this relates to hand washing behavior tfitzwater quotes above(?).

I might add that while it does stain DNA, and glows in UV, EtBr has not actually been proved to be very toxic, as was discussed above. There are probably worse toxins in the lab, or home,... or air, that you can worry about.
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Re: Etbr panic!!!! Help

Postby pat992 » Aug 19 2016 9:43 pm

I'm thinking about casual things. ..


If wash my hands isn't safe enought ... so, what about touching people? eat? sexual relashionships? I don't want to put someone in risk.
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