Safer Alternatives in Research – Addressing Ethidium Bromide

Ethidium Bromide is a commonly used stain for gel electrophoresis in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocols, despite inherent health risks associated with it. Ethidium Bromide is a mutagen and causes acute toxicity if inhaled. You will find the following GHS pictograms on the manufacturer label and SDS.

However, there are safer alternatives to ethidium bromide. Products such as SYBR Green, Accuris SmartGlow™, and Apex Safe DNA Gel Stain are green fluorescent cyanine dyes that are highly sensitive and are non-carcinogenic, as determined by the Ames-test.

At a Glance:

  • Detection limit as little as 0.1 ng of DNA
  • Compatible in both agarose and polyacrylamide gels
  • Compatible with both UV and blue light illuminators
  • Ships at ambient temperature and stored refrigerated

Read more about these products at the following sites:

If you have any questions about how to incorporate safer products in your research, please contact EHSO at 404-727-5922 or

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