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Ethidium Bromide Disposal

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Ethidium Bromide Disposal
Ethidium bromide is commonly used in molecular biology laboratories. While it is not regulated as hazardous waste, the mutagenic properties of this substance may present a hazard if it is poured down the drain untreated or placed in the trash.
Based on these considerations, EHS recommends the following disposal procedures for ethidium bromide. * Electrophoresis Gels * Ethidium Bromide Solutions * Gloves, Equipment and Debris
Electrophoresis Gels
Trace amounts of ethidium bromide in gels should not pose a hazard. Higher concentrations, e.g., when the color of the gel is dark pink or red, should not be placed in laboratory trash. EHS recommends the following: * Less than 0.1% ethidium bromide: place in laboratory trash * More than or equal to 0.1%: place in biohazard box for incineration.
Consider substituting with a less hazardous material, such as GelRed Nucleic Acid Gel Stain.

Ethidium Bromide Solutions * Aqueous solutions containing <10ug/ml ethidium bromide can be released to the drain. * Aqueous solutions containing >10ug/ml ethidium bromide should be filtered or deactivated using one of the methods described below. EHS strongly recommends charcoal filtration over chemical deactivation. * Solutions containing heavy metals, organics, cyanides or sulfides should be disposed as hazardous waste.
Charcoal Filtration
Filtering the aqueous ethidium bromide waste solutions, free of other contaminants, through a bed of activated charcoal is a relatively simple and effective method for removal of ethidium bromide. The filtrate may be poured down the drain.
There are three simple kits available for charcoal filtration:
Funnel Kit
Schleicher and Schuell supply a commercial filter funnel kit that uses a packaged charcoal disk that is graduated for easily tracking the amount of aqueous…...

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