Policy Information

Date Established: 8/27/2009
Date Last Updated: -
Category: Environmental, Health and Safety
Responsible Office:
Environment, Health and Safety
Responsible Executive:
Associate Vice President for Facilities

Policy Contents

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Disposal of Ethidium Bromide Contaminated Waste


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance for the proper handling and disposal of ethidium bromide containing stock solutions and gels which have not undergone a destaining process. This also includes any contaminated debris.


Policy applies to all university laboratories and research areas serviced by UB EHS where ethidium bromide is in use.

Applicable Guidelines

Refer to Hazardous Waste Guidebook, section 5.3.5.


The primary responsibility for following this policy rests with the principal investigator. However, all researchers, graduate students, etc, associated with a particular laboratory area where ethidium bromide is used must be trained and made aware of this policy.


Ethidium Bromide

Agent commonly used as a nucleic acid stain in molecular biology. Although ethidium bromide is not considered a RCRA hazardous waste by the USEPA, due to its highly toxic nature UB EHS will collect and dispose of it as such.

Unstained Solutions and Gels

Any solutions or gels which have not undergone a destaining process are considered toxic. These materials must be handled and collected as hazardous waste.

Destaining Media

Used in destaining process. May be present in the form of “tea bags” or specialized media columns. These must be handled and collected as hazardous waste.

Ethidium Bromide Contaminated Debris

Any wipes, gloves, pipette tips, paper towels, test tubes, etc contaminated with ethidium bromide must be handled as hazardous waste.


  1. Upon completion of a particular experiment or series of experiments where ethidium bromide is in use, all solutions, gels and associated debris must be collected as hazardous waste.
  2. Solutions and gels should be placed in a plastic or glass bottle. Debris can be placed in zip lock bags if desired. All containers must be properly labeled with a UB EHS hazardous waste label (available from EHS). All applicable data that identifies the waste and its point of origin must be completed on the label. Refer to Hazardous Waste Guidebook section 5.2.2 for specific instructions concerning the completion of the label.
  3. The container(s) are to be stored in the laboratory hazardous waste satellite accumulation area. When pickup of the waste is required, the laboratory will complete a hazardous waste pickup request form and forward to EHS. The pickup request form is available on the EHS web site at www.ehs.buffalo.edu Refer to the Hazardous Chemical Waste Management Guidebook section 5.2.4 for specifics on completing this form.
  4. UB EHS will pickup the ethidium bromide waste once completed request is received and processed.

Document Management

This procedure shall be reviewed once every two years, or as changes require.

Document Revision History

Revision Section(s) Changed Change(s) Made
1 All Reformatted for web 1/2018

Contact Information

Department Contact
Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S)

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