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Notice to Readers Nitrocellulose Paper Used in Western Blot Test -- Fire and Potential Explosion Hazard

Nitrocellulose paper is used in a variety of laboratory electrophoresis and gel-diffusion procedures, including the Western blot test. Nitrocellulose paper poses a well-recognized fire hazard and can be ignited at most ambient temperatures likely to be encountered in operating laboratories.

Additionally, nitrocellulose paper may be highly reactive and can detonate or explode when heated under the confinement conditions present in the closed chamber of a steam autoclave. Therefore, potentially infectious gels deposited on nitrocellulose paper should not be decontaminated by autoclaving. Instead, such materials should be decontaminated by immersing in a 10% aqueous solution of household laundry bleach for 30 minutes. Following removal from the bleach solution, nitrocellulose paper can be disposed of by incineration or burial in a sanitary landfill. Reported by Technical Consultation Activity, Laboratory Program Office, CDC.

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