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Sodium Hydroxide hazards generally relate to the fact that Sodium Hydroxide is classified as a 'Corrosive' substance which can cause severe burns to skin and eyes. It occurs in solid and liquid forms both of which are classified as Corrosive or Irritant. Solutions are classified as Corrosive to approximately 2% by weight, below which they are classified as Irritant. Solid form Sodium Hydroxide, generally pellets or flake, is highly Corrosive.
Sodium Hydroxide hazards are not always immediately apparent, particularly with regard to the extent of burns caused by Sodium Hydroxide. Skin contact may result in itching rather than the pain of a burn and the destruction of skin tissue tends to be deeper. Sodium Hydroxide is a viscous substance and clings to the skin until washed off thoroughly with water, producing a ‘slippery’ feeling on the skin surface. Sodium Hydroxide should be washed from the skin immediately to avoid excessive damage.
Serious burns and a risk of blindness occur during eye contact with even dilute solutions able to cause serious damage. If Sodium Hydroxide enters the eye, severe pain will be experienced, more so than with skin contact. The chemical can penetrate deep into the eye causing corneal damage and loss of vision which can lead to other disorders such as glaucoma and cataract.
Sodium Hydroxide is Harmful by inhalation when dusts or vapours are formed, causing irritation of the respiratory tract, damage to mucous membranes and may form pulmonary oedema. Coughing, difficulty in breathing and tightness of chest may also be experienced. Chronic exposure by inhalation may lead to obstructions in the airway.
Ingestion of the substance is likely to cause severe damage and burns to the mouth, throat, oesophagus and stomach with risk of perforation.
Sodium Hydroxide produces an exothermic reaction when dissolved in water and on reaction with acidic substances. It reacts with light metals, for example Aluminium, Zinc or Tin to form Hydrogen which is an explosive gas.
If disposed of incorrectly it may lead to harmful effects on aquatic organisms due to a pH shift.
It is important to understand Sodium Hydroxide hazards when working with or handling this product. Sodium Hydroxide is a stable product. Sodium Hydroxide is incompatible with a variety of other materials including many metals, acids, nitro compounds, phenols, ammonium compounds and combustible organics. Sodium Hydroxide is classed as hygroscopic and a dangerously hot solution may be produced if even small amounts of water are used. Sodium Hydroxide absorbs Carbon Dioxide from the air.
Sodium Hydroxide safety is governed by legislation. Sodium Hydroxide is classed as very Corrosive and causes severe burns. Sodium Hydroxide may cause serious permanent eye damage. Sodium Hydroxide is very Harmful by ingestion. Sodium Hydroxide is harmful by skin contact or by inhalation of dust.
Personal Protective Equipment
Great care must be taken when handling Sodium Hydroxide. Sodium Hydroxide hazards can be minimised by the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the safe handling of this material and should include safety glasses, adequate ventilation and Neoprene or PVC gloves.
As can be seen from the above text, Sodium Hydroxide should always be handled with care and in a controlled way. Strict legislation governs the way in which Sodium Hydroxide must be packed, labelled and transported and the use of Personal Protective Clothing (PPE) cannot be over-emphasised, particularly as damage to skin tissue is not always apparent. For further details of Sodium Hydroxide hazards, Sodium Hydroxide labelling, Sodium Hydroxide packaging and transporting Sodium Hydroxide, please refer to the relevant pages of this Sodium Hydroxide website.
http://www.sodium-hydroxide.co.uk/sodium-hydroxide-hazards | Saved Friday, November 18th, 2011 - 6:06 AM