Is it safe to touch a gel casting tray with bare hands

  • Thread starter Swetha K
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Hi everyone,

I just touched empty gel casting tray with bare hands which was used for Gel Electrophoresis in which Ethidium bromide was used. I came to know that ethidium bromide is a mutagen and carcinogenic and teratogenic. I am panicked and worried. Is it safe? Kindly answer me.

Regards,
Swetha
 
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TeethWhitener
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If the tray was empty and cleaned out, there was probably very little ethidium bromide left in it, if any at all. That said, we can’t dispense medical advice on the forum. If you’re really concerned, see a doctor.
 
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Ygggdrasil
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The dangers of ethidium bromide are often exaggerated
ethidium bromide, as far as can be told from the data, is not a human mutagen. It’s not a mouse mutagen or rat mutagen either. Nor apparently a mutagen in cows and other farm animals, where it’s used in veterinary medicine at concentrations one thousand times higher than the red solutions that are so feared in biology labs, seemingly with no bad effects. It’s not even Ames-positive by itself, but only after it’s been exposed to metabolizing enzymes, which tells you that some derivative of it has mutagenic potential, should you ingest it and send it through your liver, but apparently not the parent compound.
https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2016/04/18/the-myth-of-ethidium-bromide
It should still be handled with caution, just like you would handle any other standard laboratory reagent (i.e. do use gloves when handling the gel casting trays in the future). However, exposure to trace amounts insert going to kill you or doom you to cancer. If you do get exposed to EB on your bare hands again, be sure to wash them with soap.
 
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  • #4
berkeman
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Hi everyone,

I just touched empty gel casting tray with bare hands which was used for Gel Electrophoresis in which Ethidium bromide was used. I came to know that ethidium bromide is a mutagen and carcinogenic and teratogenic. I am panicked and worried. Is it safe? Kindly answer me.

Regards,
Swetha
Welcome to the PF, Swetha. :smile:

You have gotten good responses in the thread so far, so at this point we will go ahead and close it. As mentioned, if you are worried, please see your doctor for advice.

Beyond that, though, I'd have a talk with your safety coordinator for that lab. It sounds like you should not have been handling materials and equipment there without the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) like gloves, etc. Please follow-up to be sure that all users of that lab understand the safety rules associated with using that lab. Thank you.
 
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