DO NOT Mix Bleach with Biological Materials in Trizol or Similar Reagents

DO NOT Mix Bleach with Biological Materials in Trizol or Similar Reagents

This update addresses the risks involved in mixing incompatible chemicals containing biological materials.

Recent incidents involving the use of bleach (sodium hypochlorite) to decontaminate liquid biowaste which contain Trizol and/or similar reagents have led to the generation of toxic fumes and potential exposure to researchers in the laboratory.

As biological materials are already inactivated by Trizol and other cell-lysis related reagents (i.e. DNAzol, RNAzol or Tri-reagent, etc.), there is NO need to also decontaminate them with bleach. This kind of chemical-containing biological waste should be disposed as chemical waste directly.

The additional step using bleach is a dangerous, unnecessary practice. Trizol and related chemical reagents contain guanidine hydrochloride or other acidic solutions such as those found in Qiagen kits are not compatible with bleach and should be disposed of as chemical waste. Therefore, NEVER mix bleach with trizol or other incompatible chemicals. For more information, please click here or consult the applicable safety data sheet.

When working with Trizol and/or similar chemical reagents while purifying nucleic acids, always work in a chemical fume hood and wear lab coat, disposable gloves, and eye protection.

Please discuss with and/or advise all researchers at your laboratory meetings to 1) NOT mix bleach with Trizol and/or other incompatible chemicals, 2) Always handle chemicals in a chemical fume hood and 3) Dispose of Trizol and/or other chemical-containing biological materials directly as chemical waste.

Contact your designated EH&S Specialist or the Biosafety Officer for more information.