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Ethidium Bromide

Ethidium Bromide is a dye commonly used as a fluorescent tag when performing molecular biology techniques such as gel electrophoresis. This chemical is also a mutagen, teratogen and suspected carcinogen which must be handled as chemical waste, not a biohazardous waste. Liquid ethidium bromide and buffer containing ethidium bromide must be disposed of through the Environmental Health and Safety hazardous waste program, not in the sanitary sewer.

Agarose gels must be placed inside of a closed, leak-proof container (5-gallon bucket, bottle, plastic bag inside a cardboard box, etc.) that is labeled in a manner such that the contents can be easily identified. A log must be maintained indicating how much ethidium bromide and other chemicals are present in the container. This log should be updated each time a new agarose gel is added to the container.

When full, the container is treated as a chemical waste container. A chemical waste disposal form and chemical waste tag need to be filled out and the chemical waste tag attached to the container.